You might have heard the word “lipoma” in reference to somebody that you know who has one. Then again, maybe that somebody is you.
Some of the more frequently asked questions regarding lipomas are:
- What are lipomas?
- Are they very common?
- Is it dangerous to have them?
- Should I worry about its/their presence?
- Should I have it/them treated?
Let’s begin by clearly noting that lipomas are fatty tumors but benign ones at that. They are essentially very cohesive masses of fat cells with somewhat of a doughy feel and is usually distinctive from the surrounding normal fat (see photos). There may just be one or there can be multiple ones that can be present in several areas of the body like the face, neck, chest, back, abdomen, arms and legs.
They vary in size – from several millimeters to greater than 15 cm. (6 inches) in diameter. When several are present concurrently, they are of many different sizes.
Lipomas are very common and, fortunately, completely harmless so there is no need to worry about their presence. They are not a cancer.
These fat growths can be surgically removed and, quite often, are. The two most common reasons for this are appearance and that they are associated with some discomfort. Often they cause an elevation of the overlying skin creating a visible lump or mass. When they are on the forehead, for example, it doesn’t take much size to be quite obvious and garner unwanted attention.
Plus, you don’t look so special in pictures.
They can also be in areas where frequent overlying pressure causes discomfort such as on the back when sitting in a chair or lying down. Overlying bra straps, belts and other types of clothes can also make these areas uncomfortable.
Depending on size, location, number and other factors, surgery can be done with local anesthesia, sedation or general anesthesia.
To schedule your consultation for lipomas and their removal or for any other plastic surgery procedure that I perform, please call my office at 480-451-3000.
Steven H. Turkeltaub, M.D. P.C.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona