The Risk Factors of a Lipoma
While the cause of lipoma development is still unknown, there are a number of risk factors that can increase your susceptibility:
• a family history of lipomas
• being aged between 40 and 60
• Cowden syndrome
• Gardner's syndrome
• Madelung's disease
• adiposis dolorosa
Diagnosing a Lipoma
Lipomas are usually diagnosed through a physical exam. It should move easily when touched, feel soft and pain-free. Sometimes, a dermatologist may take a biopsy of the skin bump to send to the lab for testing and to rule out the possibility of cancer. This is done because a lipoma looks quite similar to a liposarcoma which actually is cancerous, but is usually painful and quick-growing. Further tests though CT scans and MRI are usually only needed when there is a suspicion of a liposarcoma.
Treating a Lipoma
A lipoma that’s left untouched will not typically cause any problems. However, you can get it removed if it is bothering you or getting in the way of your day-to-day activities. The 3 most common treatment options are:
Steroid injections - By injecting steroids into the affected area, the lipoma should drastically shrink, however it will not be removed entirely.
Liposuction - This procedure works by sucking the fat out of a lipoma in order to reduce its size.
Surgery - The most common procedure is to simply have the entire lipoma surgically removed. Once this takes place, the chance of it growing back is slim.
The Outlook For Someone With a Lipoma
Since a lipoma is a benign tumor, there is no real risk of one suddenly turning cancerous. Additionally, it will never spread through any surrounding tissues or muscles, and it certainly is not life-threatening. All in all, the outlook for someone with a lipoma is incredibly positive.