Lipoma is a benign tumor literally made out of fat tissue. It is usually painless and varies in size. It can be as small as a coin or as big as a football. It can grow anywhere on the body, trunk, back, hands or even genitals. Sometimes you can have multiple of them growing all over your body. It is most bothersome if it grows at joint areas or at the dependent places such as buttock and back.1 out of 1000 people has Lipoma most commonly at the age of 40 – 60 years old however it can develop at any age. Although it generally does not cause harm to your health, it can be a very unpleasant sight to some people especially when it grows in an exposed area of your body.
What causes it?
There is no obvious cause for a person to develop Lipoma. However those with family history or are overweight may have a higher risk of developing it. Some studies have identified that previous injuries to parts of their body may be able to trigger the growth of a lipoma. Rare diseases such as Dercum’s disease – a painful Lipoma or Madelung’s disease which is lipoma growth associated with high alcohol intake
How do we diagnose it?
Lipoma can often be diagnosed through physical examination. Although it is distinguishable, sometimes its appearance is similar to some of the cancerous tumors such as liposarcoma. A tissue biopsy or imaging investigation such as Ultrasound examination, CT scan or MRI scan is needed to further confirm the diagnosis.
There are a few ways to treat Lipoma.
The highly recommended method is surgical removal. This will ensure the removal of the tumor entirely. It is safe and can be done in a clinic setting. As it is a superficial procedure, the risk of complications is minimal and chances for recurrence is almost none.
How long will it take for you to recover?
The wound will take about 1 to 2 weeks to fully recover. However You will be able to go to work the next day after the procedure. Taking care of it is simple, typically you will need to keep the bandage on for about 2 days and let your body do the rest by having a good rest and a healthy meal diet.
Other treatment options include steroid injection which will reduce the size of the lipoma however it does not remove it thus it can regrow. Another option is liposuction which is less invasive however it is more suitable for bigger size lipoma. These options are for those who are not suitable for surgical removal or just simply do not prefer to have procedures done on them.