What is Lipoma?

    A lipoma is a slow-growing, fatty lump typically found between the skin and the underlying muscle layer. These lumps, characterized by a doughy texture and usually non-tender, quickly move with gentle finger pressure. Lipomas are commonly identified during middle age; some individuals may have multiple lipomas.

    Fortunately, lipomas are non-cancerous and typically pose no harm. Treatment is generally unnecessary, but if a lipoma causes discomfort or pain or increases in size, you may consider removal.

What are the causes of Lipoma?

    The exact cause of a lipoma remains unclear to doctors.

    In some cases, individuals may inherit a defective gene from their parents, developing one or more lipomas. This rare occurrence is known as familial multiple lipomatosis.

    Additionally, lipomas may be more common in individuals with certain medical conditions, such as Gardner's syndrome, Cowden syndrome, Madelung's disease, or adipose dolorosa.

    Furthermore, researchers have proposed that certain lipomas could arise following an injury involving significant impact on the affected area.

What are the risk factors of Lipoma?

    Several factors may heighten your risk of developing a lipoma, including:

    1. Age: While lipomas can occur at any age, they are most frequently observed in individuals between 40 and 60.

    2. Genetics: Lipomas often exhibit a familial tendency, suggesting a genetic predisposition to their development.

What are the symptoms of Lipoma?

    Lipomas typically do not cause pain, although they can become uncomfortable if they exert pressure on a nerve or develop near a joint. Many individuals with a lipoma may not experience any symptoms. Characteristics of lipomas include:

    1. Encapsulation: Lipomas are contained within a capsule and do not spread to surrounding tissues.

    2. Generally painless: While most lipomas are painless, some may cause discomfort depending on their size, location, and proximity to blood vessels.

    3. Round or oval-shaped: These fatty lumps typically have a symmetrical appearance.

    4. Mobile: Lipomas are situated just beneath the skin's surface and can be easily moved when touched.

    5. Typically, smaller than 2 inches in diameter: Although most lipomas are smaller than 2 inches, in rare cases, they can exceed 6 inches in width.

What are the different types of Lipomas?

    All lipomas primarily consist of fat; some may also contain blood vessels or other tissues. Various types of lipomas include:

    1. Angiolipoma: Comprised of fat and blood vessels, angiolipomas can often be painful.

    Conventional: The most common type, conventional lipomas, consists of white fat cells that store energy.

    2. Fibro lipoma: This type of lipoma comprises fat and fibrous tissue.

    3. Hibernoma: Hibernomas contain brown fat, unlike most other white lipomas. Brown fat cells generate heat and aid in regulating body temperature.

    4. Myelolipoma: Lipomas of this kind contain fat and tissues responsible for blood cell production.

    5. Spindle cell: Lipomas classified as spindle cells

    have fat cells that are longer than wide.

    6. Pleomorphic: These lipomas exhibit fat cells of various sizes and shapes.

When to see a doctor

    It is essential for individuals to promptly inform their doctor upon noticing any changes in a lipoma or the appearance of new lumps. These changes may include:

    1. Increase in size or sudden rapid growth.

    2. Development of pain.

    3. Redness or warmth in the area.

    4. Transformation into a rigid or fixed lump.

    5. Visible alterations in the skin covering the lipoma.

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