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Resembling a cyst in appearance, a lipoma is a slow-growing mass composed of fat cells that typically resides in the subcutaneous layer of the skin, nestled between the skin and the underlying muscle layer. Although most lipomas are small, measuring less than 2 inches in diameter, they have the potential to increase in size. They possess a soft or doughy texture and can easily move when slight pressure is applied. Lipomas tend to develop in individuals during middle age, commonly appearing in the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, and thighs.

Typically, lipomas do not cause tenderness, but they may induce pain if they enlarge and exert pressure on nearby nerves or contain a multitude of blood vessels. The exact cause of lipomas remains partially elusive, but it is believed that genetic factors contribute to their formation. To diagnose a lipoma, a physical examination, biopsy, and X-ray may be conducted. 

The Treatment

If the lump becomes bothersome, painful, or continues to grow, medical professionals may recommend the removal of the lipoma through either dermatology surgery or a liposuction procedure.

Treatment generally isn’t necessary for a lipoma, but if it’s bothersome, painful, or growing, the Art of Skin Dermatology can remove it with a medical skincare, outpatient procedure, including:

  • Simple incision – a minor surgical procedure to remove a benign or malignant growth under local anesthesia
  • Electrodessication (cautery) – a procedure that utilizes a fine wire to transmit heat through a cautery unit to treat benign growths, pre-cancers and superficial skin cancers
  • Cryotherapy (freezing) – a procedure that utilizes liquid nitrogen to treat benign and precancerous growths


Lipoma Removal

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Epidermoid Cyst

An epidermoid cyst is a small, harmless lump that forms beneath the skin, usually on the face, neck, or trunk. It is characterized by a round bump under the skin, a tiny blackhead blocking the opening of the cyst, yellow discharge from the cyst, and, if it becomes inflamed or infected, redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. While anyone can develop these cysts, individuals who have reached puberty, those with specific genetic disorders, and those who have experienced skin injuries are more prone to them.

Sebaceous Cyst

A sebaceous cyst, also known as a skin cyst, is a growth beneath the skin that resembles a closed capsule. It is typically filled with liquid or semisolid substances, similar to a blister on the skin. These cysts can occur when oil glands or hair follicles in the skin become blocked or swollen, and there may also be a genetic component to their development. The main symptom of a skin cyst is a painless lump under the skin, which can become inflamed and tender.

Fortunately, sebaceous cysts are usually harmless and can be left untreated. However, if a small cyst becomes inflamed or a larger cyst causes discomfort, pain, or hair loss, it may be necessary to seek treatment to alleviate the symptoms. The specific treatment approach depends on the type and location of the cyst, as well as the level of discomfort it causes. Options for treatment include draining or aspirating the cyst, surgically removing it, or conducting a biopsy to determine if the cells are cancerous.

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