Lipoma: Benign Tumor Under the Skin

Have you ever heard of lipoma? Lipoma is a benign tumor that is often found in several parts of the body such as: the patient's head, shoulders, back and neck. However, lipomas can also be found in rarer areas, such as the thighs.

Lipomas consist of fat cells that accumulate under the skin, are covered by a thin layer of tissue, and are located between the muscle and the skin. Lipomas are often experienced by adults aged 40-60 years and are more common in men. In some cases, there can be more than one lipoma on the body. As a benign tumor, its growth is relatively slow and does not harm the patient. However, sometimes its presence can disturb aesthetics and cause discomfort if the lump is in the joint area.

The cause of this growth of fatty tissue still needs to be studied further, however, it is known that lipomas can be genetic so the tendency can be inherited. If your family or close relatives suffer from lipoma, then their offspring have a tendency to suffer from the same thing, although it is not always certain.

What are the symptoms of lipoma?

  • Lumps caused by lipomas are usually encapsulated so that their boundaries are firm and do not spread to surrounding tissue
  • The lump is also usually painless, but can cause discomfort or even pain depending on its location, size, and whether there is involvement of blood vessels or if it presses on a nerve.
  • The shape of this lump is round or oval
  • When moved, this lump can move because it is located right under the skin
  • The size of these lumps varies from the size of a marble to the size of a ping pong ball.
  • The consistency of this lump is soft.

Diagnosing lipomas

This can be done through a physical examination by a doctor. The doctor will look and feel the lump to be sure, but in certain cases supporting examinations such as ultrasound, CT scan, MRI and tissue biopsy of the lump can be carried out to ensure the lump is not another malignant tumor such as liposarcoma or fat tissue cancer.

Lipomas often do not require special treatment, however, if the lump causes discomfort, bothers the patient, and continues to grow in size, then it is better to have the lipoma removed. Once removed, the lipoma usually does not grow back. However, apart from surgery, liposuction or injecting corticosteroids into the lump can also be done to reduce the size of the lipoma. However, currently, it is known that only lipoma removal surgery can completely remove lipomas.

Lumps on a person's body should immediately be examined by a doctor to find out the type of lump. Proper treatment can provide better results, prevent discomfort for the patient, and hopefully the lump will not get bigger.

Article written by dr. Irawan Sukarno, Sp. B (General Surgeon Specialist at EMC Cikarang Hospital).