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Do lipomas hurt?

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Lipomas are lumps that can appear in any body area and are relatively frequent (between 16 and 50%) [1]. These are benign tumors made up of fat cells that grow in the tissue under the skin or, less commonly, in internal organs.

Those who suffer from it may wonder if lipomas hurt, so in the following FastlyHealarticle, we will talk in detail about this condition to give you the most appropriate answer to this question. Read on and find out!

What is a lipoma

Although it may sometimes seem impossible not to be alarmed, you must remember that lipomas are harmless. They are simply lumps of fat that grow under the skin and that, at a certain point, stop their growth. According to which cases, they can become enormous and even exceed 5 centimeters. Another of its characteristics is that if we touch them, they move, making it familiar for people to be alarmed when a lipoma appears.

However, it must be clear that it is a malignant tumor that is not dangerous. Lipomas can appear in any area of ​​the body; however, where they most commonly appear is in:

  • Back.
  • Shoulders.
  • Chest.
  • Neck.
  • Extremities.
  • Nut.
  • Buttocks.

Even though lipomas are not a tumor or something serious, it is always better to go to the doctor to have all their characteristics controlled and explain what the best treatment is if there should be a treat. These are the signs and symptoms that will help you identify lipomas :

  • Lipomas grow immediately under the skin.
  • They are found just under the skin.
  • They are doughy and soft to the touch.
  • They move to the touch.
  • They tend to be minor, although, in some instances, they can become more extensive.

Malignant lipoma: what is it

If we say that you have to go to the doctor, it is because, although lipomas are not dangerous, the truth is that they can be confused with other malignant lesions, which are medically known as liposarcoma. A lipoma is a fatty tissue delimited by healthy tissue that does not invade adjacent spaces or send cells away like a malignant tumor. It is a benign tumor that grows locally and does not pose risks to the patient’s life.

A lipoma is suspected whenever a localized mass with the subcutaneous tissue is observed. However, it is necessary to perform the required tests to rule out other similar lesions that may be malignant. First of all, it should be noted that a malignant lipoma is not treated. It is a lipoma but a similar lesion that can be confused due to its characteristics. To diagnose a malignant lipoma, liposarcoma, or fibro lipoma, it is necessary to do a biopsy since it is the only way to make a differential diagnosis.

Below we will talk about the different types of malignant lipoma or liposarcoma and their characteristics:

  • Well-differentiated: it is the most common type of liposarcoma. In fact, it constitutes 50% [2]It has low levels of aggressiveness, and although it can relapse locally, it does not metastasize.
  • Myxoid: has an intermediate aggressiveness and is the most common type in children. It is at risk of metastasis, especially in its round cell variant.
  • Pleomorphic: it is the rarest type. It represents less than 10% of liposarcomas. It is highly aggressive, both in localized recurrence and in metastasis.
  • Dedifferentiated: it originates from a well-differentiated liposarcoma and has a high risk of metastasis.

Do lipomas hurt?

In the previous section, we have explained that lipomas do not usually hurt. However, there are cases where lipomas do hurt when touched or even if they are not touched. Here we explain in which suits lipomas hurt :

  • If they press on a nerve, when lipomas grow too large, they may push or block a nearby nerve. In that way, it may cause pain. An example is when lipomas on the back of the neck press on nearby nerves and cause pain in the shoulder or the entire arm.
  • If they have blood vessels: There are lipomas, such as angiomyolipoma, that appear on the trunk and lower extremities and contain blood vessels. The more blood vessels a lipoma has, the greater its symptoms, including pain.
  • Dercum disease: This disease, also known as painful adiposis, is rare [3]. However, in people who suffer from it, it causes the appearance of different lipomas throughout the body that are painful. It is closely associated with obesity, and, in general, they usually appear on the thighs, trunk, and arms.

Now that you know the causes of a painful lipoma, below we explain how the treatment should be to end it.

Lipomas: treatment

As we have just seen, there are cases when lipomas hurt. Especially in the cases of painful lipoma, but also in those that course without pain, the doctor can apply a series of treatments to eliminate the lipomas. The two main treatments are liposuction and removal. It must be said that in many cases, lipomas are absorbed by the body itself, so no treatment is needed. However, if they do not go away and if it causes any of the following symptoms, it should be eliminated :

  • If it causes alterations: either preventing proper mobility (of the intestine), breathing (in the throat) or movements (in the extremities).
  • If it grows too much: if the lipoma exceeds 5 centimeters, it is best to remove it.
  • If it causes bleeding: depending on where it is located, the lipoma can cause bleeding, in which case it is best to eliminate it.

The lipoma can always reappear. Once it has been removed through removal, it is advisable to have periodic medical check-ups to prevent the growth of another lipoma and treat them before another intervention is necessary.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Do lipomas hurt? We recommend that you enter our category of Skin, hair, and nails.



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