What is a Lipoma?

The lump that usually raises more concern that it should.

By Kevin RR Williams

HEALTH Discovery of an unexplained subcutaneous lump can be the source of considerable anxiety for many — particularly if under an arm or within breast tissue. Any mass that grows or remains for 3 weeks should be evaluated by a medical professional.

Regardless of gender, a type of lump more common in individuals aged 40 to 60, is lipoma (not to be confused with lymphoma, which is cancer originating within lymphocytes or lymph nodes). Each of the eight sub-types is primarily made up of fat tissues. The typical lipoma is a moveable, small, soft, rubbery lump located just beneath the skin that might not be detected without applying moderate pressure. Usually painless, lipomas are often found on the trunk, neck, back, upper thighs, armpits (lymph nodes), breasts, and upper arms singly or in groups. But they can occur virtually anywhere there are fat cells, including internal organs. [1]

Types of Lipomas

  1. Conventional lipoma (common, mature white fat)
  2. Hibernoma (brown fat instead of the usual white fat)
  3. Fibrolipoma (fat plus fibrous tissue)
  4. Angiolipoma (fat plus a large amount of blood vessels)
  5. Myelolipoma (fat plus tissue that makes blood cells)
  6. Spindle cell lipoma (fat with cells that look like rods)
  7. Pleomorphic lipoma (fat with cells of all different shapes and sizes)
  8. Atypical lipoma (deeper fat with a larger number of cells)

Don't Panic

Eighty percent of all breast lumps are benign. Radiology reports should reveal some vascularity within the growth to suspect cancer. Because lipomas are non-cancerous, doctors might suggest simply monitoring them without invasive intervention. An ultrasound or CT scan may be ordered to rule out cancerous liposarcomas. They are generally painful, grow quickly and are more stationary than lipomas. An empirical evaluation takes these symptoms into consideration to determine if excision via local anesthetic is warranted for cosmetic or health reasons. [2-4]

Blog: Breast Cancer Awareness

Lipomas are generally harmless and cause no discomfort so they do not affect a person’s quality of life. Lipomas rarely increase the risk of other diseases. People who choose to have their lipomas removed for cosmetic reasons seldom have visible scarring. [4] So perform regular breast self exams (BSE) to locate new lumps. If one is found, try not to worry. Get it checked out to stay A Bit More Healthy.

August is national Breastfeeding Awareness Month.

Tags: bumps, nodules, obgyn, oncologists, underarm, women

References
  1. Lipoma. orthoinfo.aaos.org ^
  2. Understanding Benign Breast Disease. my.clevelandclinic.org ^
  3. Lipoma. mdguidelines.com ^
  4. Lipomas. my.clevelandclinic.org ^