A common condition that often manifests itself in the form of a bump under the skin is the lipoma, also known as a fat bump. This is a benign tumor that consists of fat tissue cells and is located in the subcutaneous tissue, or the part under the dermis. It is a common condition that usually occurs in middle-aged people. Despite the fact that the exact causes of the development of a lipoma are not entirely clear, it is known that there may be a hereditary component.
Adipose tissue cells
Another name for a fat lump is a lipoma. Lipoma is a benign tumor made up of adipose tissue cells and is located in the subcutaneous tissue (the part under the dermis).
Heredity plays a role
Lipomas are a common condition that usually occur in middle-aged people. It is still unclear exactly how lipomas arise, although heredity is considered an important factor. Although some forms of excess weight are associated with other skin conditions, it does not seem to play a role in the development of lipomas. Usually these fat lumps are localized on the neck, on the shoulders, upper arms, back and thighs. When touched, a lipoma feels doughy, while the overlying skin is normal in color and texture. A distinctive feature of a lipoma is that it can move freely over the skin and is attached to the underlying layer.
Lipoma grows very slowly and can reach 2 to 10 cm in size, sometimes even larger. A rapidly growing tumor is probably not a lipoma.
About 7% of people with lipomas have multiple fat bumps. They are spread over the body, but can sometimes also be found in 1 body part. Lipomas generally do not cause any complaints, but sometimes it is painful when a lipoma pushes against a nerve.
Lipoma variant and others
- Angiolipomas: 10% of lipomas are the benign highly vascularized angiolipomas and are located in the neck, neck, palms, soles of the feet. These lipomas are smaller 0.5-5cm and can cause more pain. The complaints can occur at a young age, a study showed an average age of 17 years.
- A rare lipoma variant is adiposis dolorosa (Dercum disease)and is most common in postmenopausal women, the average age being 35 years. Heredity plays an important role. It occurs in 16% of men. In addition to multiple painful lipomas in the torso, buttocks, upper arms and legs, obesity, fatigue, dry eyes and dry mouth and depression also occur.
- Other bumps under the skin: sebaceous gland cysts, lymph nodes, fibromas, neurofibromatosis, lymphomas.
Usually, it is easy to diagnose lipoma because of its obvious clinical features. The physical examination reveals a fatty lump that is attached to the lower layer, has a smooth surface and is well defined. In addition, it can be observed that the bump is detached from the skin. However, in some cases the picture may be less clear and additional tests may be needed to confirm the diagnosis. For example, ultrasound, CT scan or MRI can be used, possibly followed by tissue research if necessary.
Lipomas do not disappear with cold or hot packs, nor with massages or diets.
Cosmetically disturbing lipomas or lipomas that cause complaints such as pain can be removed.
Superficial and well-encapsulated lipomas can be easily removed surgically under local anesthesia, but poorly demarcated lipomas are not. Because it is deeper than originally thought (back, shoulder blades, ribs) or between vulnerable structures such as nerve and blood vessels.
See youtube for the procedure
There is a chance that a lipoma will come back.
Liposuction for small lipomas is another alternative and causes less scarring. In medium-sized (4-10 cm) and large lipomas (>10 cm), the risk of recurrence is high because it is not always possible to remove the entire lipoma.