A fatty tissue growth that develops under skin is known as a lipoma. The growths occur in soft tissues such as in the thighs and abdomen. About 50% of all soft tissue masses are caused by lipoma. Anyone can get these fatty growths. They however rarely occur in children. Although lipomas are classified as tumors, they are largely benign. This means that they won’t spread or invade other body tissues like cancerous tumors do.
Most lipomas are not painful or harmful. Treatment is usually not necessary. If they become bothersome, surgical removal is the best treatment approach.
What causes lipoma lump of fatty tissue under skin
It is not clear what causes lipoma lumps of fatty tissue under skin. Since most people with lipoma tend to have a family history of the condition, some experts associate it with hereditary factors. Lipomas may also appear after an injury. Other risk factors include:
- Age (between 40-60 years)
- Madelung’s disease
- Gardner’s syndrome
- Adiposis dolorosa
Lipomas may grow more rapidly due to rapid weight gain. Since they do not get metabolized to release energy, losing weight will not have an impact on their sizes.
Symptoms of lipoma fatty tissue under skin
A lipoma lump can go unnoticed for a long time until it forms a lump large enough to be felt or seen. Some lipomas can take years to reach this stage.
Lipomas lumps have the following characteristics:
- Soft, doughy and rubbery to the touch
- Located beneath the skin
- Most measure less than 2 inches in diameter
- Take the shape of a dome
- Move readily when pressed with finger
- Develop slowly
- Most are painless. However, if a lipoma presses against a nerve or has blood vessels running through it, it can cause pain. You can for example have a painful lump in the breast caused by a lipoma.
Lipomas usually cause a lump in fatty tissue on the shoulder, thighs, abdomen, neck, arms and back. They can however grow in any other soft tissue in the body such as on the breast or on the forehead. A painful lump on the back of leg behind the knee can be caused by lipoma.
Diagnosis and treatment for lipoma fatty tissue under skin
Your doctor will first perform a physical exam. As mentioned in the symptoms of lipoma, the lump will soft and rubbery. The lump will also be movable when pressed with a finger.
To ensure that the lump is not cancerous, your doctor may take a biopsy of the lump. This involves scraping a small portion of the lipoma and studying it under a microscope.
Large lipomas or ones occurring deep in fatty tissues require imaging tests. This is common when diagnosing a lipoma lump in fatty tissue on the stomach. Imaging tests are usually performed with MRIs and CT scans. An ultrasound may also be taken.
Treatment is usually not required for a lipoma. If it however tends to keep growing, is painful or bothers you in any other way, you can have it removed. Available treatment options include:
Surgery is the most common removal technique for a lipoma. It does not require a complicated surgery. Since you will be given medication to numb you, the surgery will not be painful. Lipomas which have been surgically removed rarely come back. Other than excision, surgical removal can also involve making a small incision and squeezing the fatty tissue out.
During liposuction treatment technique, a needle and a large syringe will be used to get rid of the lump. Liposuction may not completely get rid of a lipoma but will greatly reduce its size.
Steroid injections aim to shrink lipomas but not get rid of them completely. Large lipomas may require to be shrunk before surgical removal.
People with a history of skin cancer or from family lines with a history of cancer are advised to go for treatment immediately after they notice lipoma-like lumps. Although cancerous lumps are in most cases hard and firmly fixed on tissue, some can start in form of soft lumps. The fact that both lipomas and cancerous lumps are not painful makes it a bit hard to differentiate between the two. Also, cancerous lumps rarely cause any symptoms in their early stages. The main difference between the two is that lipomas grow slowly while cancerous lumps grow more rapidly.
Before going for an appointment, it may be helpful to first list your symptoms, especially ones that appeared almost at the same time with the lump. You can also note some of the major lifestyle changes you have adopted, such as taking medications and supplements or having gained a lot of weight recently.
Large lump in fatty tissue on shoulder
Both men and women can get a lipoma lump in the fatty tissue on the shoulder. Most of them grow into large lumps that can be felt or seen. However, the lumps do not cause any functional limitation.
A lipoma on the shoulder can be subcutaneous or intermuscular. Subcutaneous lipomas occur under the skin and are most common. Intermuscular lipomas occur between muscles on intermuscular fat. These occur in more muscular parts of the body. For example, a lipoma lump in the calf muscle is more likely an intermuscular lipoma.
Several tests may be necessary to confirm that a lump on your shoulder is actually a lipoma. Since lipomas do not resolve on their own, your doctor will most likely suggest surgical removal. The procedure will be done under local anesthesia and so will not be hurtful. Most patients are able to go home after the operation.
Lumps of fatty tissue all over body; Adiposis dolorosa
Adiposis dolorosa is a rare condition, characterized by growth of multiple lipomas all over body. The torso, upper arms and legs are mostly affected. Signs can also appear on the buttocks. The condition is more common in obese and overweight women. Most cases are reported in middle age.
Adiposis dolorosa lumps form firm bumps under the skin. They cause pain that can come and go or be continuous. Patients also experience a burning sensation on affected regions. If not treated, ddiposis dolorosa leads to fatigue, irritability, seizures and dementia. Doctors are not sure if ddiposis dolorosa is the actual cause of these problems, however.
See your doctor is you notice multiple nodules or bumps of soft fatty growths under your skin. Adiposis dolorosa can be quite discomforting and painful.
Hard lump in fatty tissue; liposarcoma
Liposarcoma is a type of soft tissue sarcoma and a rare type of cancer that starts in fat cells. Liposarcoma lumps can develop in any part of the body but mostly occur in the upper arms.
Typical signs and symptoms of cancer will appear in liposarcoma patients. These include a gradually growing hard lump in the fatty tissue, fatigue and swelling. Unlike most cancers, the lump will be painful. As the disease advances, the following symptoms may occur:
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty swallowing or a lump in the throat feeling
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced limb muscle functionality
The exact cause of liposarcoma is not clearly understood. The disease doesn’t however grow from normal lipomas. Like most cancers, mutation of fat cells is mostly to blame. It is therefore advisable to stay away from possible causes of cancer such as tobacco, radon gas, asbestos and UV radiation. These are also common cancer lump in the lungs causes.
See your doctor immediately if a lump under your skin gains mass over a short period of time. In most cases, the listed signs and symptoms will only occur when the disease has advanced. This makes it very hard to successful treat liposarcoma.
Home remedies to get rid of lump of fatty tissue under skin
Lipomas occur under the skin. Treatment with home remedies which work for outer skin conditions will not work on lipomas. There is some evidence to support claim that the following home remedies may be effective on lipomas:
- Turmeric – applying a paste made from olive oil and turmeric may reduce the size of a lipoma due to the effect of curcumin.
- Neem oil – in Ayurveda, neem oil has been used for a long time to shrink lipoma tumors.
- Green tea – green tea is known to regulate levels of blood fat. It also contains antioxidants, compounds which may help fight liposarcoma.
- Apple cider vinegar – this remedy is considered an anti-inflammatory. To use it, add 3 teaspoons of raw ACV to a glass of water and drink. Oral administration is a better method such as when treating a lipoma lump on the head.
- Sage – applying sage extract externally may help shrink a lipoma. The remedy is also said to balance body fluids.
You can also prevent rapid growth of lipomas through dietary changes. This is especially when it comes to controlling rapid weight gain. There is much you can learn on the internet today on topics such as difference between lipoma and liposarcoma, what does a testicular lump feel like and so on. As you may already know, cancer and lumps are closely related.