What Causes Lipomas?

What Causes Lipomas?

A lipoma is a type of tumor — but don’t let that scare you. These slow-growing fatty lumps aren’t cancerous, and they usually don’t require any medical treatment. However, they can be uncomfortable or unsightly, depending on their size and location.

Scott A. deVilleneuve, MD, at Surgical Associates of North Texas in McKinney, Texas, specializes in soft tissue surgical techniques that allow him to remove growths like lipomas with optimal results, including minimal scarring. 

In this blog, Dr. deVilleneuve explains lipomas, their causes, and why expert care is essential when having them removed.

What makes lipomas unique?

The word “tumor” describes a lump or mass in the body where cells reproduce abnormally. It’s important to know, though, that not all tumors are the same. 

Instead, you can have masses of cells that form cancerous and noncancerous tumors. While cancerous tumors can be especially dangerous and life-threatening because of their potential to spread, noncancerous tumors, like lipomas, only remain in one place.

Lipomas form from fat cells that group together abnormally underneath your skin, creating a rubbery mass. They often grow slowly, you can move them around when you touch them, and they typically don’t cause pain. 

In most cases, lipomas develop on the legs, trunk, back, shoulders, arms, neck, or forehead. However, they can become very uncomfortable when they form near a joint, press on a nerve, or have blood vessels.

What causes lipomas?

Approximately 1 in 1,000 people have a lipoma. They can occur at any age and can even be present from birth. But the chances of developing these masses increase in people ages 40-60.

The exact cause of these masses isn’t known. However, the most significant risk of having lipomas involves a family history of the growths. Having certain conditions can also increase your chances of developing them, such as: 

Because genetics is the leading cause of lipomas, there’s little you can do to keep from developing the condition. But, as we mentioned, most usually aren’t a cause for concern.

However, you should never assume a new growth on your body is a lipoma. Always see a doctor to diagnose the mass and determine the best course of treatment.

How are lipomas treated?

While lipomas typically don’t require medical treatment, some can become bothersome. When this occurs, it’s important to find a provider — such as Dr. deVilleneuve — who has experience with soft tissue techniques.

Unlike other tumors, lipomas form in soft tissue, which means they can move, flex, and shift position when handled. As a result, a surgeon needs the expertise to remove them while preserving surrounding tissue and reducing the risk of complications. Dr. deVilleneuve also uses special suturing techniques that minimize your chances of scar tissue formation. 

In most cases, Dr. deVilleneuve performs lipoma removal surgeries on an outpatient basis, so you can go home after your procedure.

Do you have a painful or unsightly lipoma? Learn more about your treatment options by calling 972-947-2264 or booking an appointment online with Surgical Associates of North Texas today.

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