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Lipoma Removal In St. Louis

Close-up image of lipoma on patient's back.

Are you a St. Louis resident dealing with lipomas – those pesky fatty lumps under the skin? At Mid-County Dermatology, our experienced dermatologists specialize in lipoma removal. We understand the concerns these growths can cause, and we're here to provide information on what lipomas are, why they occur, and the advanced techniques we employ for safe and successful lipoma removal. Schedule a consultation if you have a lump or bump you want to be evaluated.

Defining Lipomas and Their Nature

What are lipomas?

Lipomas are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that originate from fat cells (adipocytes) just below the skin's surface. They are caused by gene mutations that lead to an overgrowth of fat cells in a particular body area.

What does lipoma mean?

The term "lipoma" is derived from the Greek words "lipo" meaning fat, and "oma" meaning tumor. These growths are usually soft to the touch, movable under the skin, and have a doughy texture.

Growth Patterns of Lipomas

Due to specific gene mutations, lipomas exhibit a slow growth rate over time. They are generally small, ranging from pea-sized lumps to larger masses up to several centimeters in diameter.

How Lipomas Form and Develop

Formation Process of Lipomas

Fat cells in the body can sometimes multiply abnormally, leading to the development of lipomas. These growths typically form between the skin and muscle layer, creating soft, rubbery lumps under the skin.

Lipomas often start small and gradually increase in size over time as fat cells continue to accumulate in the affected area. While they are usually painless, their presence may cause cosmetic concerns or discomfort.

What causes lipomas?

One of the primary factors contributing to the development of lipomas is a genetic predisposition. Individuals with a family history of these benign tumors are more likely to develop them themselves.

Moreover, certain medical conditions such as adiposis dolorosa, also known as Dercum's disease, can increase the risk of lipoma formation. These conditions disrupt normal fat metabolism, leading to abnormal growths in various parts of the body.

Are lipomas dangerous?

In most cases, lipomas are considered harmless growths that do not pose any significant health risks. Due to their benign nature, they typically do not require treatment unless they cause discomfort, such as when they press on nerves or interfere with movement.

Common Locations for Lipomas

  • Neck

    • Lipomas commonly appear in the neck, often as soft, movable lumps under the skin. They can vary in size and typically do not cause pain.

  • Shoulders

    • Shoulders are another frequent location for lipomas to develop. These fatty growths can be found either on the surface or deeper within the shoulder muscles.

  • Abdomen

    • The abdomen is a common area where lipomas tend to form. These benign tumors can grow in various sizes and may be noticeable upon touch.

  • Arms and Thighs

    • Lipomas are also known to manifest in the arms and thighs. They can be felt as smooth, rubbery lumps that move easily beneath the skin.

Recognizing these typical locations of lipomas is crucial for early detection. Regular self-examinations can help individuals identify any new or changing growths promptly.

Recognizing Symptoms of Lipomas

Texture and Mobility

Lipomas are characterized by their soft texture and easy mobility, often felt just under the skin's surface. They typically feel doughy to the touch.

Varying Sizes and Pain

The size of lipomas can vary from pea-sized to several centimeters in diameter. While most lipomas are painless, larger ones may cause discomfort.

When to Consult a Dermatologist About Lipomas

Early Detection

If you notice any new lump or swelling on your body, it is crucial to consult our dermatology team promptly. While lipomas are usually harmless, getting them checked early can help rule out any serious conditions.

Monitoring Changes

Regularly monitoring any changes in the size, shape, or texture of the lump is vital. If you experience pain or discomfort, or if the lump grows rapidly, do not hesitate to contact us by calling or texting 314-994-0200. You can also schedule your consultation online.

Overview of Lipoma Treatment Options in St. Louis

Non-Surgical Management

For individuals with asymptomatic lipomas, medical intervention may not be necessary. In many cases, these benign growths do not cause any symptoms or health risks, allowing for a watch-and-wait approach. Managing lipomas effectively without treatment involves regular monitoring by a dermatologist to track any changes in size, shape, or symptoms. If a lipoma remains stable and does not cause discomfort, surgery may be unnecessary.

Surgical Excision

Surgical excision is a common treatment option for lipomas, especially if they are causing pain or discomfort. During this procedure, the lipoma is removed under local anesthesia through a small incision in the skin. Large lipomas, growing rapidly, or pressing on nearby structures may require surgical excision to prevent complications. This method ensures complete removal of the fatty tissue, reducing the chances of recurrence.

Ultrasound-Guided Liposuction

Ultrasound-guided liposuction is another effective approach for treating lipomas. This minimally invasive technique involves using ultrasound technology to locate and remove the fatty tissue through a small tube inserted into the skin. This method is particularly suitable for lipomas that are soft and easily accessible. 

Your Trusted Dermatologists in St. Louis for Effective Lipoma Management

The most important things to remember about lipomas are to check your body regularly for any new lumps and see a dermatologist right away if you notice one. Catching lipomas early makes treatment easier. At Mid-County Dermatology in St. Louis, our dermatology team will evaluate your skin to diagnose the lump or bump and then offer treatment options. Don't hesitate to make an appointment if you have any concerns - your skin health is our top priority.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a lipoma?

A lipoma is a noncancerous growth made of fat cells. They are usually soft to the touch and move easily under the skin.

How do lipomas form?

Lipomas form when fat cells grow in clusters within a thin, fibrous capsule located just below the skin. The exact cause of their development is not always clear.

Where do lipomas commonly appear on the body?

Lipomas often occur on the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms, and thighs. However, they can develop in other areas as well.

What are the symptoms of lipomas?

Lipomas typically feel like soft lumps under the skin. They are usually painless but may cause discomfort if they press on nearby nerves or organs.

When should I see a doctor about a lipoma?

Consult a doctor if you notice rapid growth, pain, or changes in the appearance of a lipoma. Seek medical advice if you have multiple lipomas or if they interfere with movement.

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