3 Things You Need To Know About Lipomas

Lipomas are growths of adipose (fat) tissue that do not behave in the same way as the surrounding, normal fat cells. They tend to clump up and grow as lumps under the skin. In some cases, they can grow noticeably large, making people self-conscious about their appearance. There are three important pieces of information you should know about lipomas and how to best manage the condition.

Genetic Predisposition

Lipomas often run in families. If you have a parent who had problems with lipomas, it increases the likelihood you or your siblings may experience similar issues. Some people may experience the occasional lipoma throughout their life, but for others, they have a tendency to grow several all over their body, throughout their life. In some cases, lipomas are just one symptom of a genetic condition, such as adiposis dolorosa. Fortunately, most cases of lipomas are purely a dermatologic concern and not indicative of an underlying condition.

Rarely Malignant

In most instances, your regular doctor or a dermatologist can identify a lipoma based on the way it feels under the skin. Lipomas are typically mobile under the skin, which makes them more identifiable as non-cancerous growths. In contrast, cancerous tumors are usually fixed (immobile) under the skin. Although lipomas are rarely malignant, it is a good idea to have one removed, even if it is small or not on an obvious area of the body. After the excision, the doctor will send the tissue to pathology for confirmation that it is a typical lipoma. In extremely rare circumstances, malignant growths of the fat cells can occur, such as the occurrence of liposarcomas.

Possibly Recurrent

When a lipoma is removed, it is critical that your doctor thoroughly inspects the area to find anything that resembles remnants of the lipoma. Lipomas typically have a smooth, yellow appearance, making them appear somewhat different from normal adipose tissue. Small fragments that may be left under the skin will increase the likelihood that the lipoma will regrow. If you have a genetic tendency to have lipomas, it is likely that you may continue to grow additional ones, even with a thorough removal. Ideally, you should keep a check on areas of your body where lipomas are more likely to surface and have them removed when they are easier to extract through a smaller incision and in a single piece.

Lipomas can grow almost anywhere on the body and rarely cause any discomfort. Although lipomas are rarely a cause for concern, it is best to address them promptly to ensure it is not a more serious problem. For more infromation, contact a dermatology clinic.