A lipoma is a lump or mass that is made up of fat cells and are a common, benign type of slow growing tumor. They most often develop just under the skin in the subcutaneous tissue, located beneath the skin and above the muscle. They can grow large in size, and multiple growths can develop most commonly in the back, neck, shoulders or arms. Less commonly, they can grow on almost any organ in the body. Lipomas may begin to grow after a tissue injury or trauma, and they tend to run in families. They primarily occur in people who are middle aged or older. In most cases, lipomas do not require treatment, although in severe cases, treatment is required due to health or cosmetic concerns.
If you develop such a lump or swollen area, you should immediately seek medical advice from your doctor. A determination of whether the lump is benign or cancerous requires a medical examination. The doctor is the only one who can prescribe the right treatment for your condition. The reason why some people develop lipomas is still unknown, although family history appears to play an important role. You are more likely to develop lipomas if you have a parent or sibling with this condition. People who develop more than one have an extremely rare inherited disorder called familial multiple lipomatosis. There are certain factors and diseases that are thought to increase the chances of developing this conditions. The most common risk factors are dercum disease, also known as adiposis dolorosa, which causes multiple painful lipomas and other serious problems, such as mental health and neurological issues. Other risk factors are the family history of lipomas, Gardner syndrome, as well as middle age.
Lipomas are not so harmful for the overall health of the body. The complications of a lipoma vary depending on its location, as well as whether surrounding tissues or organs are affected. Generally, they are only removed if they are painful or grow too quickly. You may also need to have lipomas removed if they cause serious cosmetic problems that interfere with your ability to have a normal life. Once a lipoma is diagnosed as benign, your physician or health care provider will determine your best treatment option. The most common treatments for benign lipomas are liposuction, steroid injections that can shrink but not eliminate lipomas and surgical procedures.
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