What Are Lipomas?
Want to know a tumor that you shouldn’t be scared of? Try the underappreciated lipoma. Lipomas are the most common tumor to form beneath your skin. About 1 out of every 1,000 people develops lipomas.
They’re not usually anything more than a soft rubbery bulge on your skin. While lipomas are harmless, occasionally it’s best to remove them.
What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a collection of fat cells growing in the soft tissue of your body, under the skin but over the muscle. Lipomas don’t develop into cancer because they consist only of fat and sometimes connective tissue.
No one is sure why lipomas develop. They often appear after an injury, and middle-aged people tend to get them more. There also seems to be a genetic factor, as they tend to run in families.
What do they look like?
Lipomas usually appear as small, soft lumps. They’re usually less than 2 inches wide. When pressed on, a lipoma may feel doughy, and they will move easily with finger pressure. They don’t normally hurt, but can if they grow next to nerves or if blood vessels run through them.
Why would I need to remove a lipoma?
Most lipomas are harmless and can be left to their lumpy existence. But if the lipoma becomes tender or painful, acquires infections, becomes inflamed repeatedly, interferes with your movements, becomes enlarged, or has a foul-smelling discharge then you should have Dr. Carter remove it.
How are lipomas removed?
Dr. Carter will usually surgically remove your lipoma. In most cases, this can be done as an outpatient procedure with local anesthetic simply injected around the lipoma. Dr. Carter will then make an incision, remove the fat cells and any connective tissue, and close the incision with a few stitches.
If surgery isn’t an option, steroid injections can shrink the growth, but usually won’t eliminate it.
The lipoma can be aspirated with a needle and a large syringe. This method doesn’t leave a scar but isn’t as effective for larger lipomas.
Do you have a lipoma that you would like have removed? Call Dr. Carter at (541) 330-0900 to make your appointment.