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Do I Need to Worry About My Lipoma?

Lipomas, while harmless, are technically tumors. If you’ve recently located a lump that appears to be a lipoma, a visit to the doctor can help determine whether it’s worth worrying about. About one in a thousand people will develop a lipoma in their lifetime, and many of these never require removal or cause for concern. However, it’s best to get this confirmed by your doctor.

At Associated Dermatologists, with locations in West Bloomfield, Commerce, Novi, and Berkeley, Michigan, our team of expert skincare providers can accurately diagnose your dermatological issue and provide any needed excision and biopsy for lipomas or cysts.

Lipomas 101
Put simply, a lipoma is just a fatty tumor. They’re typically harmless and don’t require removal unless you’re self-conscious or bothered by it. Common characteristics of lipomas include being:

Located just under the skin
Found on the arms, thighs, neck, back, and shoulders
Around 5 centimeters (2 inches) in diameter
Slow-growing
Doughy to the touch
Easily moved with pressure
Rarely painful
Lipomas can sometimes grow to concerning sizes or put pressure on the surrounding nerves, which can cause pain. However, they aren’t hard to the touch, discolored, or rapidly growing. If you have a tumor with these more serious characteristics, it’s best to get it examined immediately.

Lipoma versus liposarcoma
While lipomas are small and harmless, liposarcomas are a form of sarcoma, or malignant growth. They typically occur deeper within the body, and if left untreated, they can grow larger and spread to other parts of the body. They are often painful, swollen, and might lead to changes in weight.

If you can see and feel a small, soft growth right under the skin, it’s probably just a lipoma. However, if you’re experiencing concerning symptoms and feel lumps in your abdomen or thighs, a visit to the doctor is necessary.

What you can do about lipomas
As mentioned above, lipomas are harmless and often small. You can leave them alone, though you should keep an eye on these growths to make sure they don’t change in size or texture.

If your lipoma is located in a noticeable place, is causing pain, or you just want it gone, you can discuss removing it with your doctor. Common removal techniques include:

Excision with a scalpel
Liposuction
Your doctor will make sure the area is properly numb and clean before removing the lipoma.

Have you noticed a soft lump somewhere on your body? Get it checked out by the experts at Associated Dermatologists by calling the location closest to you, or request an appointment online.