Lipoma is a benign tumor composed of the body fat or the adipose tissues which affects almost one in 1000 people. This is actually a knot of fatty tissues usually present in the subcutaneous region or just below the skin. Though Lipomas are mostly common on the shoulders, neck, armpits and the trunks, they can occur at any place in the body. Usually most people suffering from Lipoma do not get pain from it. However, sometimes the lipomas get pressed on the nerves which can be painful. In this current article we will talk about Lipomas symptoms, causes and various ways of treatment procedures.
Epidemiology of Lipoma:
- Lipoma can be explained as a rubbery bulge that tends to be growing very slow just below the skin and that feels moveable. Usually lipomas are pretty small and are less than 2 inches across, though the maximum range they can go is about 8 inches across.
- Usually Lipomas are soft to touch and are painless, except in rare cases.
- Lipomas are common and about one in every 1000 people suffer from Lipoma.
- Usually only one lipoma grows in people who get encountered with the same over a period of months or years. However there are reports that about 20% of the people with Lipomas have several lipomas at a time.
- People of all age groups can be affected by Lipomas, though the most common age group is 40 to 60 years. However, even lipomas can be present at the birth time.
- Solitary Lipomas are comparatively more common in women, however multiple lipomas occur more commonly and frequently in men.
- There are some sources which claim that the benign tumor can transform to malignant tumor in Lipoma, however other say that there are no such documentation available on this.
Symptoms of Lipoma:
It is usual that lipoma rarely cause any pain. This is the reason most people do not have symptoms. However in case the lipoma presses on the nerves, the affected person might get the pain. Now, coming to the size of lipoma, we already mentioned above that usually they are smaller in size. However, people get to know about it only when they grow large enough to be visible and palpable. Let us take a look on some of the rare yet notable symptoms for Lipoma in this section.
- A dome-shaped or oval-shaped lump ranging from 2 to 10 cm in diameter(Rarely some may grow larger)
- Soft and smooth movable lump that can be easily moved and felt just under the skin.
- Pain can be felt when pressed at times.
Common Sites of Occurrence of Lipoma:
Lipomas are most often seen in the adipose tissues under the skin. The most common sites of occurrence are shoulders, chest, back, arms, and neck. However lipomas also occur in various other areas of the skin where there is a presence of fat tissue. It must also be informed that Lipomas may also occur inside the body though they are not seriously problematic. As they can occasionally be deep inside the body, you cannot see them and may not be aware of their existence.
Subtypes of Lipomas:
There are many subtypes of Lipomas which include the following:
- Adenolipomas- The lipomas which are associated with the eccrine sweat glands
- Angiolipomas- These are the painful subcutaneous nodules having all other features of a typical form of lipoma
- Angiolipoleimuomas- There are solitary, acquired, asymptomatic acral nodules which are characterized histologically by well-circumscribed subcutaneous tumors made of smooth muscle cells, connective tissues, blood vessels and fat.
- Hibernomas- These are the lipomas of brown adipose tissue(A type of adipose tissues found in mammals which mainly functions in generating body heat in newborns and hibernating animals.)
- Chondrois lipomas- These are the deep-seated, yellow colored, firm tumors that characteristically grow on the legs of women
- Intradermal Spindle cell lipomas- Such types of lipomas are common in women and occur in parts like head, trunk, neck, upper and lower extremities etc in equal frequency.
- Neural Fibrolipomas- Such lipomas often lead to nerve compression. They are the outgrowths of the fibrous- fatty tissue along a nerve trunk in the affected person.
- Spindle cell lipomas- These are slow growing subcutaneous and asymptomatic tumors that are mostly seen in older men on the posterior of their back, shoulders and neck
- Pleomorphic lipomas- They occur mostly in elderly men and have features of floret giant cells along with overlapping nuclei.
- Superficial subcutaneous lipomas- This is the most common type of lipoma. They occur just below the skin surface and mostly grow on the trunk, forearm and the thigh. However such lipomas can also be seen in other parts containing fat.
Causes for Lipoma:
Though the causes for lipomas are still unknown, there are possibilities that they are caused by any physical trauma to the particular part of the body. There are also certain genetic conditions like the Gardner syndrome and hereditary multiple lipomatosis which can cause multiple lipomas in a person. Madelung’s disease( a disease occurring in men who are more into alcohol intake) is another rare condition which may lead to Lipomas.
Diagnosis for Lipoma:
A simple physical examination by the doctor can easily diagnose the condition of Lipoma. However, in case it is large and painful, doctor may go for certain test so as to confirm if the noticeable lump is not cancerous. Biopsy, CT scan or Computed Tomography scan, MRI or Magnetic resonance imaging etc are some of the tests which may be prescribed by the doctor.
Once a lipoma is diagnosed in your body, you will be advised for the further treatment procedures.
Treatments for Lipoma:
Usually Lipomas being benign and not symptomatic, do not require any treatment. However sometimes in case the patient may choose to have the lipoma treated or removed because of the location or how it affects his or her appearance, then there are certain ways to treat the same. Lipomas which rarely causes pain or affects the development of muscles must be removed too. In this current section we will list down some of the ways lipomas can be removed or treated in an appropriate manner. But prior to that let us list down the conditions where the removal of lipomas are essential in a person.
- If the lipoma gets painful and turns tender then it has to be removed.
- In case the lipoma turns infected or inflamed repeatedly.
- In case the size of the lipoma increases more than 10 cm.
- If the lipoma starts interfering with the function and comfortable movement of the affected portion in the patient
- In case there comes a foul smelling discharge from the lipoma
- In case the lipoma turns bothersome or something unacceptable.
Ways to Get Rid of Lipoma: Medical Solution
Now let us note down some of the ways through which lipomas can be removed or treated.
- Liposuction to Remove Lipoma- This is a procedure used to remove the lipoma by making an hole on the lipoma and then a hollow thin tube called a Cannula is inserted into the incision. The entire process of liposuction is conducted under local anesthesia. Though this procedure of removing the lipomas is helpful to remove larger lipomas, the procedure is linked with a greater rate of recurrence.
- Simple Surgical Excision of Lipoma: In certain cases surgical removal of the lipoma is also done. Here the patient is give local anesthesia where the lipoma has grown. Once the place gets numbed due to anesthesia, the doctor can remove your lipomas by making a small incision in the place and gently removed. The cut is then stitched.
- Squeeze Technique to Get Rid of Lipoma- In this case there is only a small incision which is made over the lipomas and the fatty tissues or the adipose tissues are squeezed from the sides through the hole.
- Steroid injections are also at times used to cure lipomas.
Prognosis of Lipoma:
Lipomas are rarely dangerous for life. So, when we look at the outlook for the patients with lipomas we get really great positive results on it. They neither are harmful and nor show more of problematic symptoms that would affect a person’s quality of life. Though in few cases malignant transformation of lipomas into liposarcomas might occur, it is still very much rare. Apart from liposarcomas, only the lipomas growing in the visceral organs can be serious like in case of the gastrointestinal tract which can cause bleeding. However when we take a look on the prognosis of lipomas overall it comes greatly positive.
Herbal Remedies for Lipomas:
“The herb cures!” We all know herbal remedies act real well in many cases. There are few herbal ways to treat lipomas. Here below we will discuss some of the most common and effective ways to treat lipomas naturally by using herbs.
- Lemon juice is known for eliminating toxins out of the body. It can help reduce the fat content from the body and thus be used to reduce the size of the lump in lipomas
- Castor oil is very much useful in treating lipomas. Applying the oil over the lipomas several times a day can help you reduce the lipoma
- ‘A mixture made of turmeric powder and olive oil can be much effective in reducing the size of the lump and treating lipoma.
- Green tea containing the fat burning properties can also be very much essential in treating lipomas
- Taking two tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar before going to bed can be helpful in reducing lipoma
- Chickweed herb is also used to treat lipomas. You can take this by making its tea.
- By applying Sage over the lipomas one can help in dissolving it naturally.
Various Other Tips to Help Self Treat Lipomas Naturally:
- Add exercise to your daily routine: By doing vigorous exercise, the size of the lipoma can be reduced effectively. Exercise is also known to lower the chances of further development of lipomas.
- Quit smoking and you can help you to treat lipomas. Smoking causes excess of toxins to get deposited in the body which might lead to various inflammations.
- As we know that lipomas are made of fat or the adipose tissues, by cutting short the fat intake from the regular diet can be helpful. You can begin your dietary change for treating lipomas by restricting more of fatty dairy products and by increasing more of the fresh fruits and vegetables. Apart from this, in order to prevent the chemical accumulation in the body you need to avoid the foods containing artificial flavoring.
Are lipomas cancerous?
In most cases lipomas are not cancerous, rather benign which do not develop into cancer. However in rarest cases a form of cancer called as Liposarcoma may occur within the adipose tissue that looks similar to a benign lipoma.
What is Liposarcoma and Where does it Occur Mostly?
Liposarcoma is a rare fatty cancer which is actually deep seated and mostly grows on the thigh, groin or at the back of the abdomen. However this kind of a lipoma is absolutely rare to see. A skin biopsy may be prescribed by the doctor to remove the Liposarcoma as it goes enlarged and painful.
Can Lipoma Cause Complicated Issues in the Body?
Mostly lipoma do not have notable symptoms and are not painful either. However in case a lipoma gets pressed on another structure, it might cause problems. Like in case it gets pressed on nerve, it may be highly painful. It is also to be noted that though very rare, yet a lipoma may sometime develop in the wall of the gut and cause problems like gut pain or a blockage of the gut.
How does one Confirm if it is a Lipoma or a Cyst?
In order to get confirmed about Lipoma, you need to know the differences between the lipoma and cysts. Below are some of the differences between the two.
- Lipomas are soft, movable and dough-like to touch. However cysts are firm to touch
- Lipomas are deeper under the skin; however cysts are close to the surface of the skin
- Cysts in some cases can lead the skin to be inflamed and turn red or swollen. However, there is nothing such in Lipomas.
As they say, “Awareness is the power to treat diseases and conditions.” Now that you are known to the condition of Lipoma and also are aware of the treatment procedures, now in case you are ever diagnosed with Lipomas then you can try out the things that can be done at home naturally and make a doctor’s visit to take the medical treatment wherever necessary.