Are Lipomas Dangerous?
A lump on any part of your body is alarming, because it might be an indication of a growth that could be dangerous. As much as that is what many people tend to think, some growths are harmless. A lipoma is a growth due to fatty tissue that can be found on different parts of the body. They are benign, which means they are not cancerous and are not painful. So, it would be safe to say that lipomas are not dangerous. However, if you experience any discomfort due to a lipoma, then you should seek medical attention for its removal. With that said, let’s learn more on what lipomas are and how they affect your body.
What You Need To Know About Lipomas?
Lipomas are benign tumors that are purely made up of proliferative fat cells. A lipoma usually develops slowly over time and can be located on any part of your body. If you have a wobbly bulge under your skin either on the neck, back, shoulder, arms or thighs, then you might be having a lipoma. They are characterized as bumps that are soft to touch and easily move if you prod with your finger. In addition to that, they are often small in size and painless. Lipomas have the same genetic composition as any other fatty cells cancerous tumor. Nevertheless, they are considered non-cancerous because they do not spread to other parts of the body. On top of that, they grow differently and on a different timeline.
Formation of Lipomas
Lipomas start off as an abnormal growth of fat cells which quickly develops into a ball of mass. You may have one lipoma or many of them in different areas. Biologically speaking, fat cells are used for storage of fat before it can be converted into energy. Cells die and other new cells are made to replace the dead cells. This process of regenerating cells can take an abnormal turn causing many cells to be produced at a go. As more cells are made than required, they form the lipoma growth, which then appears on any part of the body where the growth started. Most especially, areas where there is a lot of fat under the skin.
Risks Associated with Lipomas
The greatest risk associated with lipomas is whether they can advance to cancerous tumors. They may be harmless but, their true nature can only be identified through a diagnosis by a pathologist. Lipomas may manifest in different sizes from as small as a pea to as big as a baseball or bigger. The smaller it is, the less concerning it is; however, bigger ones are much scarier and may press on your nerves. Since they grow abnormally, they do not go away on their own and only increase in size with time. In other cases though, the growth ceases, but the mass of fatty tissues remains. The only issue that can be regarded then is cosmetic deformity due to the size of the lipoma and can be rectified via surgical removal of the lump. Lipomas are hardly painful although, if they contain other cells, blood vessels or muscle tissue, they may result in pain.
A lipoma is considered a tumor, but that should not worry you as it is the good kind of tumor. Lipomas are not malignant, rather they are benign, which means they cannot cause any health complications. The odds of a lipoma turning to be cancerous are very low and most studies show that it will rarely happen. Anyone can have a lipoma lump lying around under their skin from young children to adults. They are fairly common and the resulting major problem is aesthetic concerns, where the lipoma can be surgically removed to offer relief. Other than that, lipomas are not dangerous. It is important that you look after your body properly and if you note any changes (growths on skin), seek medical help. It is better knowing what you are experiencing compared to not knowing then having major health complications later on.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2021). Lipoma. [https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/lipoma]