- What Is a Lipoma?
- Where Does a Lipoma Develop?
- Causes of Lipomas
- Are Lipomas Cancerous?
- Diagnosis of Lipoma
- Treatment for a Lipoma
- Lipoma in Dogs
- Patients Speak
- Ask us
- What Are Lipomas?
- What Causes Fatty Tumors In Dogs?
- Foods That Can Help Prevent Lipomas
- Movement Is A Must
- 6 Herbs To Help Shrink Fatty Tumors In Dogs
- Slow And Steady Wins The Race
- Hitwebcounter.com How to and What is Blog
- What it Felt Like to Get a Small Tumor Taken Out of My Arm
- Lipoma and liposarcoma
- Who gets lipomas?
- What causes lipomas?
- What are the signs and symptoms?
- How is the diagnosis made?
- What treatment is available?
- Fat necrosis
- 4. How is fat necrosis treated?
- 5. Can fat necrosis increase the risk of breast cancer?
Although doctors can usually diagnose lipomas based on history and physical examination alone, imaging tests can be helpful for some cases.
X-rays. Although these tests create clear pictures of dense structures like bone, plain x-rays can show a prominent shadow caused by a soft tissue tumor, such as a lipoma.
Computerized tomography (CT) scans. These scans are more detailed than x-rays and will often show a fatty mass to confirm the diagnosis of lipoma.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The best information for diagnosing lipomas comes from an MRI scan, which can create better images of soft tissues like a lipoma. MRI scanning will show a fatty mass from all perspectives. Oftentimes, doctors can make the diagnosis of lipoma based on MRI imaging alone, and a biopsy is not required.
(Left) An MRI scan of the elbow clearly shows the lipoma. (Right) The location of the lipoma in the adjacent MRI.
Biopsy. A biopsy is sometimes necessary to confirm the diagnosis of lipoma. In a biopsy, a tissue sample of the tumor is taken and examined under a microscope. Your doctor may give you a local anesthetic to numb the area and take a sample using a needle. Biopsies can also be performed as a small operation.
In most lipoma cases, a biopsy is not necessary to confirm the diagnosis. After the lipoma is removed, a biopsy will be done on a sample of the tissue.
Under a microscope, lipomas often have a classic appearance with abundant mature fat cells. Sometimes there can be a small amount of other cell types, too, such as cartilage or bone.
Liposarcoma. During the diagnosis phase, your doctor will work to differentiate a lipoma from a more aggressive form of fatty tumor called liposarcoma. Liposarcomas are cancerous. The symptoms of liposarcoma vary from those of lipoma. Liposarcomas typically grow quickly, are often painful, and are not as moveable as lipomas.
People with lipomas are not more likely to develop a fatty cancer in the future. The exception is people with atypical lipomas. This lipoma subtype can turn into a liposarcoma, but this is rare.
What Is a Lipoma?
A lipoma, a knob of fatty tissue under your skin, is probably harmless, but it needs to be checked.
A lipoma is a lump of fatty tissue between your skin and the underlying muscle.
It feels rubbery, and you may be able to move it around a bit. A lipoma is usually painless, harmless, and not cancerous.
Lipomas tend to grow slowly over months or even years. Although the rare lipoma may become as large as 8 inches, most stay smaller than 2 inches.
A lipoma is the most common soft tissue tumor in adults, occurring in one in every 1,000 people.
It can develop in people of any age, even in newborns, but it typically appears in adults between ages 40 and 60.
Lipomas are slightly more common in men than women, and about 20 percent of people who have one lipoma develop another.
Where Does a Lipoma Develop?
A lipoma can grow anywhere on the body, but it most often occurs under the skin of these areas:
- Upper back
- Upper thighs
It may also develop in a muscle, an organ, or deep within a thigh, shoulder, or calf.
Causes of Lipomas
Medical experts don’t know what causes a lipoma, but some think it’s a response to a physical trauma.
However, it’s possible that the trauma doesn’t cause the lipoma, but it was there previously and discovered because of the trauma.
Some doctors think lipomas occur more often in inactive people, but this belief hasn’t been proven.
Lipomas do tend to run in families, so genetic factors can play a role in their development. Some genetic conditions can cause a person to have one or more lipomas, including:
- Gardner syndrome, a condition that causes benign tumors to form
- Adiposis dolorosa, a condition marked by the growth of lipomas
- Familial multiple lipomatosis, a hereditary condition that causes multiple lipomas to form
- Madelung disease, a rare condition marked by lipomas forming around the upper body
- Cowden syndrome, which is characterized by benign tumors, skin tags, and large head size
Are Lipomas Cancerous?
A lipoma is usually harmless and painless, and most lipomas are not cancerous.
However, in rare cases, a lipoma can become a liposarcoma, a fat-cell cancer.
Diagnosis of Lipoma
Your doctor may perform one or all of the following exams of your lump to determine if it’s a lipoma or something else:
- Physical exam
- Removal of a sample of tissue (a biopsy) for microscopic examination
- Imaging tests, such as ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan
Treatment for a Lipoma
A lipoma doesn’t usually need to be treated unless it bothers you. Nevertheless, your doctor will recommend scheduling periodic checkups to note if the tumor is growing or changing in any other way.
For example, a lipoma can become painful if it becomes large enough to press on nearby nerves. Or, it may contain many blood vessels.
In either case, your doctor may suggest having the lipoma removed in one of the following ways:
- Surgery to cut out the lipoma, permanently removing it (Minimal excision extraction is a surgical technique that minimizes bruising and scarring.)
- Steroid injections to shrink the lipoma but not eliminate it
- Liposuction to withdraw the contents of the lump through a needle and into a large syringe
Lipoma in Dogs
Lipomas are the most common benign tumors in dogs. Old dogs and overweight ones are likely to have at least one lipoma.
The growths are most prevalent in females, mixed breeds, and the following breeds:
- Doberman pinschers
- Miniature schnauzers
- Labrador retrievers
If you find a lump while petting or grooming your dog, make an appointment with your veterinarian to examine it.
In addition to a physical exam, your vet may use a small needle to remove cells from the growth to view microscopically (fine needle aspiration) or remove a larger sample of tissue from the lump for a biopsy.
If a lipoma bothers your dog, the vet can remove it. In most cases, though, a painless lipoma that the dog ignores is left alone.
Your vet may simply schedule periodic checks to monitor the growth and the dog’s comfort.
A lipoma is a knot of fatty tissue that is usually found just below the skin (subcutaneous). Lipomas can occur almost anywhere on the body, but are most commonly found on the trunk, shoulders, neck, and armpits. Lipomas can rarely form in muscles and internal organs.
A lipoma can be described as a rubbery bulge that feels like it can move. Lipomas tend to grow slowly, often over a period of months or years. They are usually small (usually less than 2 inches across). Sometimes larger lipomas do occur, with some reaching almost 8 inches across.
Lipomas are fairly common, occurring in 1 in every 1,000 people. People with a lipoma usually have only 1, though about 20% of those affected can have several.
Lipomas affect all age groups and can even be present at birth; however, they usually form in people who are between the ages of 40 and 60.
Are lipomas cancerous?
A lipoma is nearly always benign, meaning it is not cancerous and will not develop into cancer. There is a very rare form of cancer known as liposarcoma that occurs within fatty tissue and may look like a deep lipoma. A lipoma that grows quickly or is painful should be checked out by a doctor, and may need a biopsy.
The causes of a lipoma are unknown. It is possible that they are caused by a physical trauma. However, it is unclear whether the trauma causes a lipoma to form, or if the lipoma is discovered simply as a result of medical attention to that area of the body.
In other cases, genetic (inherited) conditions such as Gardner syndrome and hereditary multiple lipomatosis cause a person to have several lipomas. Another rare condition, Madelung’s disease, is seen mostly in men who drink a lot of alcohol.
What are the symptoms of lipomas?
Lipomas rarely cause pain, and so most people have no symptoms. However, a person with a lipoma can have some pain if the lipoma presses on the nerves or has some blood vessels running through it.
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Let our patients tell you about us
Many of you know the sinking feeling you get when you find a lump or bump underneath your dog’s fur. Any kind of cyst-like bump can cause panic …
… But it helps to know that most are benign (non-cancerous) and are known as lipomas or fatty tumors in dogs.
Obviously, prevention is the best way to deal with fatty tumors in dogs. The trouble is that they can be elusive, appearing almost overnight.
What Are Lipomas?
Lipomas are a collection of fat cells found just beneath the skin. They have certain characteristics:
- They range in size from small to large, sometimes growing bigger than a tennis ball.
- Most are found on the chest, flanks, legs, and neck.
- They’re soft and somewhat moveable.
This movability is the key difference between a benign fatty tumor and a liposarcoma.
Liposarcomas are a malignant form of fatty tissue tumors. These types of tumors don’t move under the skin and fortunately, they’re rare.
Benign tumors contain cancerous cells but they lack the ability to spread in the body.
Malignant tumors contain cancerous cells that can spread to other areas in the body.
Both types can sometimes be referred to as infiltrative, meaning they invade a tissue.
The good news is that lipomas aren’t painful unless they grow in a nerve-rich area. They really like the endocrine system, muscle tissue, and fascia.
In some cases, invasive lipomas impair movement and this can cause muscle pain. For cases like these, surgery is often recommended to offer comfort and mobility.
Weekly grooming can go a long way in early detection. Numerous holistic methods help soften and dissolve lipomas. These methods stimulate the body to slowly absorb and process the contents of the lump … which causes them to shrink and disappear.
Yes, you read that correctly! Lipomas can be healed holistically especially when detected early.
Before we go into how to shrink lipomas, first let’s take a look at some of the reasons your dog gets them in the first place.
What Causes Fatty Tumors In Dogs?
Allopathic medicine is baffled by the cause of fatty tumors in dogs. They are usually attributing them to random chance, age, and genetics.
While age and genetics can contribute to the formation of lipomas, there’s something else that needs attention …
The build-up of toxins is often overlooked by mainstream veterinary medicine. From a holistic perspective, when lipomas form it’s a sign that the body is congested. The energy that isn’t flowing well becomes trapped.
Toxins and fat get trapped and walled off by the body’s immune system as it pushes contaminants to the outside. This is the body’s attempt to protect and sustain internal organ function.
Your dog’s lymphatic system consists of a network of lymph ducts, nodes, and vessels. They all work together to transport lymphatic fluids to the bloodstream. The lymph system is a key player in your dog’s immune function … and it delivers nutrients to cells while removing wastes.
When your dog’s elimination systems become congested the transport system slows down. This stagnation can lead to blocked circulation causing lipomas and other chronic diseases. This build-up of wastes is sometimes referred to as a dog’s “toxic load.”
So where do these toxins come from? Your dog’s everyday environment. Toxins can include:
- Environmental contaminants like glyphosates, pesticides, and herbicides
- Water contaminants like chlorine and fluoride
- Heavy metals
- Flea and tick medications
- Grooming products like chemically laden shampoos
Another contributing factor to toxic load is diet. Everything you feed your dog either contributes to disease or fights it. The cleaner his diet, the less your dog’s body needs to process it.
When your dog eats, his liver, gallbladder, and pancreas decide how to react. This means they either release the enzymes needed to break down and assimilate nutrients …
… Or they assume the body is under attack and issue an immune response. This leads to inflammation and slow digestive motility.
When foods are left in the digestive tract for too long they aren’t properly broken down. This causes toxins to build up in the digestive tract … and the vicious cycle of stagnation leads to chronic inflammation.
Too Much Fat?
One of the problems with fatty tumors in dogs is the belief that too much fat equals fatty tumor formation. This isn’t true if the body is breaking down the fats.
It’s actually the type of fat that’s the problem, like the rancid and oxidized oils found in kibble. Some examples are rendered animal fat, vegetable oil, and GMO soy and canola oils. Sadly, canola oils can be found even in higher-end and “all-natural” treats.
Your dog’s body sees these undigested oils as immune attackers and the body goes into defense mode. To protect itself it deposits and walls off fat mixed with toxins in the form of a lipoma.
If you suspect your dog isn’t breaking down his food properly you can make a few changes:
#1 Make sure he’s getting clean filtered water
#2 Feed pre and probiotics and digestive enzymes daily.
#3 If you’re a kibble feeder, consider moving your dog to a fresh food diet.
If traditional raw isn’t in your realm of possibility you can try alternates such as:
- Commercial raw food
- Dehydrated dog foods
- Freeze-dried dog foods
Or you can home cook for your dog to add variety, especially if you have senior dogs.
Foods That Can Help Prevent Lipomas
There are also some natural foods that you can add to your dog’s food to help prevent lipomas. Here are some of my favorites:
- Give a basic regimen of burdock, milk thistle and dandelion. These can help support liver function, circulation, and elimination. Pulse these herbs by giving them for six days on, one day off. Repeat for six weeks. If this combination works for your dog, you should see the lipomas slowly getting smaller at the end of six week. If not, discontinue.
- Feed phytoplankton. It offers an excellent source of bioavailable vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.
- Feed antioxidants like vitamin C and amino acids. These help the body work more efficiently and support elimination and cell health.
- Add organic apple cider vinegar (ACV) to meals. ACV can be a powerful ally in the prevention and treatment of lipomas. It assists in liver detoxification as it stimulates circulation and energy flow. ACV works with the body’s lymphatic system by cleaning out the lymph nodes. It also supports the body’s elimination channels. Give 1 tsp daily for dogs 15 pounds and under, 2 tsp for dogs between 15 and 30 pounds, 1 tbsp for dogs up to 80 pounds and 2 tbsp for giant breeds. Avoid in dogs that have trouble regulating their body heat or have a hard time cooling down. Apple Cider Vinegar can aggravate dogs that have too much heat.
Movement Is A Must
Circulation is the key to the continuous elimination of toxins from the body. The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like the circulatory system, the heart. Instead, it needs movement to efficiently work.
Chiropractic care, acupuncture, and acupressure help support energy flow … but don’t forget about walking! The average American dog gets less than 15 minutes of exercise per day. That also means 15 minutes or less of breathing fresh air!
For any dog with lipomas or prone to forming fatty tumors, walking and fresh air are a must.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and your dog to stay healthy is walking outside. Walking helps circulate energy throughout the body and keep the lymphatic system moving. As a bonus, it also stimulates motility in the digestive system.
6 Herbs To Help Shrink Fatty Tumors In Dogs
Along with exercise, the following herbal remedies can help the body expel toxins. They also support:
- The liver
- The kidney
- The digestive system
- And shrink and eliminate fatty tumors.
1. Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale).
These bitter herbs can help break down fats in the body by stimulating the digestive system. They’re able to clear heat (inflammation) from the body … and they decrease the stagnation of fluids and energy.
Dandelion increases circulation by thinning fluids and supports the lining of the gut. It stimulates the release of bile by the gallbladder to help digest fats. Dandelion is a potent lipoma fighter. This is due to its ability to facilitate the removal of toxins through the kidneys and liver.
- You can add dandelions to your dog’s diet or use a tincture of whole dandelion (both leaf and root). Give 1/2 drop of tincture for every pound of weight twice daily.
- Chamomile makes an effective infusion (a tea steeped 20-30 minutes) added to your dog’s food. Add 1 Tablespoon for every 30 pounds of body weight.
2. Burdock root (Arctium lappa)
Burdock supports the lymphatic system, the liver, and the kidneys. Burdock root, combined with milk thistle (Silybum marianum) makes a great duo.
They help the body rid itself of pharmaceuticals and move heat through the liver. Burdock root helps the gall bladder release bile to support the digestion of fats. Burdock root also cools the inflammatory conditions of the liver and digestive system.
- Give as a tincture, 5 drops for every 30 pounds twice a day.
3. Chickweed (Stellaria media)
Chickweed moves fluids through the body. It’s good for reducing inflammation and removing toxins from tissues.
As a bonus, chickweed can be used internally and externally, for lipomas.
Caution: Chickeweek is diuretic in nature. It helps export toxins through the kidneys … especially when combined with a lymphatic stimulant like cleavers (Galium aparine).
- Give as a tincture, 5 drops for every 30 pounds twice a day.
4. Self-Heal (Prunella vulgaris)
This herb is often overlooked for preventing and treating tumors. Like dandelion, self-heal is common in yards and treated like a weed. It’s known as a superlative lymphatic herb.
It’s great at moving fluids in and out of tissues downward through the kidneys. Self-heal removes heat in the liver moving stagnant fluids and improving circulation.
Self-heal is safe to use internally and externally to redistribute and break up fatty tissue.
- Give as a tincture. 1/2 drop of tincture for every pound of weight twice daily.
- Rub a few drops of tincture into the lipoma twice daily
5. Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
Turmeric is a popular anti-inflammatory that increases blood flow with its warming nature. It improves digestion and soothes intestinal muscles. It also protects the liver and stimulates bile secretions from the gallbladder.
Turmeric caution: Use cautiously with dogs that can’t control their body temperature. If adding turmeric causes your dog to pant, discontinue.
- Give 150 mg per 30 pounds of your dog’s weight twice a day.
6. Violet (Viola odorata)
Violet is one of the best lipoma herbs and it’s also safe for long-term use. Violets dissolve hard and soft accumulations in the body using the lymphatic system.
They’re cooling so they work especially well for hot conditions like fatty tumors. You can use violets internally and externally.
Herbalist Juliette de Bairacli Levy uses violet leaf as a poultice … along with an infusion of the leaf and flower to remove any type of cyst or lipoma.
To make a Violet infusion:
- Use 1 tsp for small dogs in a half-cup of water. Divide this volume into morning and evening doses.
- For medium dogs use 1 tbsp
- For Large dogs use 2 tbsp
Or you can use a tincture and give 5 drops for every 30 pounds twice a day.
Note: General guidelines for using these herbal dosages is …
- Give them for six days.
- Then one day off.
- Repeat this cycle for six weeks.
- After 6 weeks the lipomas should be shrinking. If not, discontinue and consult an herbalist or holistic veterinarian.
- If lipomas are smaller, take one week off and repeat six-week cycle until clear
Easy Lipoma Salve Recipe
Here’s a an easy DIY recipe that you can make at home for topical lipoma support.
What you need:
- 36 dry violet flowers with leaves
- 14 dry sage leaves
- 1/4 ounce of dry chickweed
- 8 ounces olive oil
- Organic vitamin E
- 1 ounce of beeswax
- 10 drops frankincense essential oil (optional)
It’s easy to make:
- Add olive oil to small crockpot and place herbs in and stir.
- Cover and let warm for 12 hours at 100 degrees. The oil should take on some of the color and odor of the herbs when infused.
- When your oil is ready, pour through a strainer into a glass pitcher.
- Add the essential oil and 10 ml of vitamin E and stir for two minutes.
- When you’re ready to make your salve, use a double boiler to melt the beeswax (approx. 145 degrees). Pour the wax into the infused oil and stir, then pour into containers and cap when cool.
- Apply salve to lipomas twice daily.
- You can also add 4 droppers of 1000 mg full-spectrum CBD oil to boost the salve.
BONUS: This salve is safe to lick.
Slow And Steady Wins The Race
Using herbal remedies patiently and consistently can support the body’s elimination channels. Recovery from lipomas is individual and some dogs will respond at a faster pace than others.
The goal is to slowly dissolve fatty tumors. This ensures the body isn’t overwhelmed with toxins.
These herbs and healing methods … along with homeopathy offer effective ways to support the body’s elimination channels. Your goal is to help the body back into a balanced state.
Be ready to accept that working with these methods will not show success quickly. However, with patience and consistency, you’ll see these fatty lumps get smaller … and in many cases disappear!
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Herbal treatment of Lipoma
A Lipoma is a tumor which may be called a fatty tumor but it is actually a lump that most of the times develops underneath the a person skin. Lipoma does not turn into a cancerous growth (malignant) but it is very serious as it is felt by the patient and it may cause congestion and discomfort. The reason for this is that the patient will feel lipoma pain or the pain that is being felt due to lipoma. As already mentioned a lipoma tumor is Benign and can be removed by lipoma surgery for excision of lipoma or Lipoma Cancer.
Now a days a lipoma must be surgically removed and lipoma removal can done by undergoing a surgery. For the patients we recommend that the patient must have an idea that what is Lipoma and how to control it. It Is removed easily if its on a place where the surgery is easy to be done. According to some Naturopaths there are certain herbal treatments which not only prevent the development of lipoma, but also can fight existing lipoma tumors of any size. These include lemon juice, cedar ointment, chickweed and more foods containing Vitamin C and the inclusion of bitters in your diet.
Prevention of Lipoma by chickweed
Use of chickweed for Lipoma Patients
Chickweed some times also called Common Chickweeds or Star Chickweed. Chickweed has been very famous from very old time and civilizations like Chinese to help in the treatment of a lipoma. Chickweed can be find very easily from any herbal store. The usual method an herbalist will recommend you is that take a teaspoon of chickweed tincture in morning , afternoon and evening three times each day. Chickweed ointments are usually very effective for reducing lipoma pain and controlling Lipoma lump from spreading and used locally and can be rubbed directly onto the affected area where you can see lipoma on the skin. This is also available in most of herbal stores. You can apply the ointment once a day. If the desired results of tincture ointment do not eliminate the discomfort or the shrinking of the lipoma Lump itself then treatment needs to be stopped and ask your herbalist for an alternative treatment because if the size of Lipoma lump is not reducing this means that this particular treatment is not helping you.
Use of bitter herbs and foods to Control Lipoma
Bitter herbs and foods are very important for excision of lipoma as the bitter foods are increase your system ability to digest fats. Fats are the basic material that Forms Lipoma. The bitters foods and fruits will increase your fat metabolism rate by stimulating the function of your gallbladder and liver. As it is always said that prevention is better that cure so if you want to be safe from lipoma or other diseases we regularly should incorporate bitters herbs and foods into our diet, we could not only prevent the future development of lipoma, but also combat any lipoma we currently have. We should also know the symptoms of Lipoma so that we can catch it on early stages . Bitter herbs include yarrow, wormwood, gentian, golden seal, rue , centaury, and boneset and southernwood. Bitter foods also include citrus peel, olives, Karela (Bitter Melon) , dandelion greens, and black unsweetened chocolate which is also known as dark Chocolate.
Use of cedars for Controlling Lipoma
It has been observed that Lipoma can be treated with cider ointment containing cider vinegar and beeswax. You can find dried chickweed herb and chickweed based creams. Some people treat their Lipoma by applying apple cider vinegar beeswax ointment on the affected areas of the skin and have been able to get rid of their tumors with this approach. Vinegar is also a good thing for overall health including prevention of lipomas. So herbal treatment is a good option for treatment at early stage of Lipoma.
You can also drink a mixture of few teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and a glass of water few times in a day to reduce your change of having a lump.
Use of lemon juice for Lipoma Lemon and its juice has been very famous for its detoxifying and antioxidant properties. Use of lemons is also associated to fight any free radical causing toxin present in your body. This lemon juice works to eliminate toxins from the body by stimulating and strengthening the digestive system and purify the liver when used in water. For these toxin eliminating and reduction properties, lemon water will help prevent and even eliminate Lipoma or fatty tumor and will help reduce lipoma pain.
To know more about lipomas you can search internet for
what are lipomas, lipoma removal, lipoma treatment, lipoma pain, lipoma surgery, lipoma cancer, lipoma causes, symptoms of lipoma, excision of lipoma, lipoma tumor
What it Felt Like to Get a Small Tumor Taken Out of My Arm
I first felt it around seven years ago. A grape-sized lump in the back of my left arm. Being something of a hypochondriac, I arrived at my doctor’s office in a panicky state. In my mind, a lump was almost certainly cancer. When it was referred to as a “mass” I readied myself to run out of there, say my goodbyes, and get my house in order.
But after the good doctor had taken his sweet ass time rolling it around betwixt his fingers, he told me with palpable confidence that the protuberance was a lipoma—an overgrowth of fat cells under the skin. This fatty lump was nothing at all to worry about, he said and when I brought up the prospect of getting it taken out, he strongly advised me not to bother. “Unless it becomes painful, it’s really best to leave it alone,” was the gist of his advice.
Though it wasn’t exactly painful at that point, I certainly felt self-conscious when a friend, partner, or massage therapist made contact with it and shot me a worried look. Even after I assured them that it wasn’t a serious issue, it still make me feel gross in the same way that an oozing cold sore, bloodshot eye, or blackened fingernail would. As my lump grew slightly larger and more uncomfortable over the next five years, I consulted other professionals about getting rid of it. Again I was strongly dissuaded.
Then, earlier this year, I made a point of getting as lean as I could. As a result, I not only found that the lump in my arm became more prominent but also discovered that I was sporting a few smaller lumps, too. In the process of writing about the constellation of lipomas stowing away on my body, I spoke with Neil Tanna, a plastic surgeon who’s excised more than his fair share of gristly masses.
When I told Tanna that the lump was getting to be painful, he offered to examine me and see what was up. The arm lump, he said, upon palpating it in his Long Island office, was worth removing but as the two much smaller lumps in my abdomen were imperceivable and not painful, he suggested that we leave them be. “There’s always going to be a scar at the incision site,” he said. “You have to weigh that against the level of discomfort or unsightliness of the mass. In your case, the lipoma in your arm could be a candidate for removal.”
Two weeks later, I made an appointment for Tanna to separate me from what is technically a benign tumor. In the meantime, I made the mistake of searching for lipoma removal videos on YouTube and I learned a couple of things in the process. First, I learned that my little guy was positively miniscule compared to the silhouette-altering masses that are being summarily cut out of people. Before I was overcome by nausea, I witnessed bright yellow, gelatinous masses the size of pomelos being heaved out of people’s necks, arms, legs, and abdomens. I was quite taken aback that people would allow their lipomas to grow so massive before seeking an intervention.
Then I looked at the amount of views these videos had and concluded that lipoma removals are wildly popular among the, ahem, masses. Dermatologist Sandra Lee is arguably the doyen of the genre; she goes by Dr. Pimple Popper but will happily rid you of cysts, rhinophyma, steatocystomas, too. Blackheads are a fan favorite with one nasty video garnering a staggering 54 million views, though the video of Lee removing what she estimates is the largest lipoma she’s ever removed has been watched a very respectable 14 million times.
Our collective fascination of things that shouldn’t be on or in our bodies is hardwired, says Curtis Reisinger, a clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry at Hofstra’s Zucker School of Medicine. “It’s something common among apes—baboons in particular,” he says, adding that it stands to reason that human beings would evolve in a way that such behavior can be gratifying to them.
Though I could understand the evolutionary utility of picking parasites from close family or tribe members, I needed a little more explanation as to why merely watching perfect strangers get horridness squeezed out of them is so alluring.
“People are really good at running simulations,” Reisinger tells me. Though we’re far removed from the action we can relate to the feeling of relief in a pimple-popping, boil-lancing or lipoma removal. “In essence, we’re feeling a bit of that relief ourselves, even though it’s happening to someone we’ll likely never meet.”
Though I’d long imagined the lump in my arm to be about the size of an avocado pit, Tanna assured me that it was significantly smaller. With that, he took out a Sharpie and drew a bullseye right on top of the lump. “In a moment I’m going to inject the site with lidocaine.” he said. “That’s going to both numb the area and stop you from bleeding too much. But it’s also going to make the area swell and make the lipoma harder to feel. That’s why I’m marking where I’ll make the incision.”
Once it was suitably numb and swole, Tanna put a surgical drape over my arm and advised me to look away. “I do this day in and day out with no problem, but when I decided to watch a cyst being removed from my own body, I felt pretty funny,” he told me. “Watching our own bodies get sliced up isn’t something we’re mentally prepared to handle.”
I obediently looked away and, other than the mild pressure as he made an initial incision with a scalpel, there was no pain. I only knew that something untoward was happening by an odd look that had appeared on my buddy Nick’s face. I’d brought Nick along to shoot the excision and see if a gross out lipoma video of my own would get some views.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Tanna peer into the hole he’d made. He said that at that depth, it was sometimes difficult to distinguish the lipoma from ordinary subcutaneous fat. He went a little deeper before reporting that he’d found the offending lump. From watching the video after the fact, I saw that Tanna had to cut the lump free from a fibrous wrapping which he’d described earlier as being like a spider’s web. After he’d deftly stitched me up, he had me put on a glove and popped the lipoma into my hand.
I was stunned at how much smaller the lump looked and felt now that it was outside of my body and not in it. Though a bright yellowy-orange, the lump was similar in size and shape to a fava bean. Unlike the larger lipomas I’d seen wrenched out of people, mine seemed smoother, denser. We talked about me keeping it but, at a loss for exactly what I’d do with it, I opted not to.
A month later, the incision scar was hardly noticeable and I was thrilled to no longer be carrying around that puck of gristle in my body. In fact, I smile every time touch the area and find that it’s no longer there. Wanna see how it went down? Here you go.
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Lipoma and liposarcoma
A lipoma is a non-cancerous tumour that is made up of fat cells. It slowly grows under the skin in the subcutaneous tissue. A person may have a single lipoma or may have many lipomas. They are very common.
Who gets lipomas?
Lipomas can occur in people of all ages, however, they tend to develop in adulthood and are most noticeable during middle age. They affect both sexes equally, although solitary lipomas are more common in women whilst multiple lipomas occur more frequently in men.
What causes lipomas?
The cause of lipomas is unknown. It is possible there may be genetic involvement as many patients with lipomas come from a family with a history of these tumours. Sometimes an injury such as a blunt blow to part of the body may trigger growth of a lipoma.
What are the signs and symptoms?
People are often unaware of lipomas until they have grown large enough to become visible and palpable. This growth occurs slowly over several years. Some features of lipomas include:
- A dome-shaped or egg-shaped lump about 2-10 cm in diameter (some may grow even larger)
- It feels soft and smooth and is easily moved under the skin with the fingers
- Some have a rubbery or doughy consistency
- They are most common on the shoulders, neck, trunk and arms, but they can occur anywhere on the body where fat tissue is present.
Most lipomas are symptomless, but some are painful on applying pressure. Lipomas that are tender or painful are usually angiolipomas. This means the lipoma has an increased number of small blood vessels. Painful lipomas are also a feature of adiposis dolorosa or Dercum disease.
How is the diagnosis made?
Diagnosis of lipoma is usually made clinically by finding a soft lump under the skin. However, if there is any doubt, a deep skin biopsy can be performed which will show typical histopathological features of lipoma and its variants.
The rare fatty cancer, liposarcoma, almost never arises in the skin. Liposarcoma is a deep seated tumour, and most often grows on thigh, groin or at the back of the abdomen. If your lipoma is enlarging or becomes painful, check with your doctor. A skin biopsy may be required to exclude liposarcoma.
What treatment is available?
Most lipomas require no treatment. Most lipomas eventually stop growing and remain indefinitely without causing any problems. Occasionally, lipomas that interfere with the movement of adjacent muscles may require surgical removal. Several methods are available:
- Simple surgical excision
- Squeeze technique (a small incision is made over the lipoma and the fatty tissue is squeezed through the hole)
Resources > Archives > A Crash Course in Cellulite
A Crash Course in Cellulite
| Article by Maia Appleby
You don’t have to be overweight to find cellulite on your body. Just about any woman can squeeze the front of her thigh with her finger and thumb and see it, while men are more likely to find it on their bellies. We all have it, but some of us don’t have to pinch anything to make it appear. Here’s a crash course for these people:
What is cellulite, exactly? Well, it’s actually fat deposits that are trapped within connective (adipose) tissue beneath the skin. The area becomes somewhat hardened by waste products that haven’t been removed from the body (like fats, retained fluids and toxins). Since the fibers surrounding it are very weak, it bulges out and shows itself to the world. As you age and your skin becomes thinner, the cellulite becomes more pronounced.
Cellulite is different from smooth body fat. Cellulite is lumpy. Body fat is like an organ, protecting your cells, cushioning your organs and storing energy. Cellulite is just lumpy. Body fat is distributed all over your body. Cellulite only shows up in the thighs, belly, buttocks, breasts and neck, and there’s nothing even about it. It does nothing… and it’s lumpy.
It’s unbelievable what people will do to get rid of cellulite. There are products that claim to help you shake it off, burn it off, brush it off, rub it off, treat it with drugs, shock therapy, herbs and surgery, but like weight loss products, nothing really seems to do the trick.
Contrary to popular belief, even liposuction, which is both risky and expensive, removes deeper fat deposits, but hasn’t been found to erase cellulite directly beneath the skin. Daniel Berg, M.D., Director of the University of Washington Dermatologic Surgery Center, tells us, “Liposuction of the thighs, while improving the silhouette, does not usually eliminate the subtle puckering of the skin often called ‘cellulite’.”
The best approach to take is, of course, common sense. What’s causing your connective tissue to harden? It may be a combination of things. Look at the healthiest people you know – the people who practice good nutrition and exercise regularly. They probably have little or no visible cellulite.
The key to decreasing the appearance of cellulite pockets is to improve the way your body eliminates things it doesn’t need. It’s that simple. The methods you can use are practically infinite, but here are a few great places to start:
- Drink two liters of water every day – more if you exercise vigorously and even more if you exercise outdoors in a hot climate.
- Don’t eat anything fried. The less grease you consume, the better. This includes butter. If you tend to put butter on everything, change your ways. After a few months of shunning butter, margarine and fried foods, you won’t even like greasy stuff anymore – honestly!
- Get moving. It’s been found that poor circulation can cause cellulite to stay put. Suggestion: indoor bicycling is an excellent way to get the blood in your legs circulating efficiently.
- Researchers have found that Vitamin C, which helps the body rid itself of toxins, plays a role in reducing cellulite, so make sure you have plenty of it in your diet. Get at least three servings a day of fresh fruits.
- Avoid sodium, which is another diuretic. Be cautious about Chinese food!
- Stay real. Chemical additives in your food may seem like a fact of life, but the more you can stay away from them, the healthier (and less lumpy) you’ll be. Read labels. If a product has more ingredients than you could read in fifteen seconds, it’s far from pure.
- Yoga is a terrific way to improve your circulation and increase your strength. An added bonus of getting into Yoga is that you’ll be surrounded by “all-natural” people who will be a good influence on you. Another added bonus is that it may give you patience, which you will need, as you won’t see results for a while.
- Take up weight training. Although it won’t, in itself, remove the cottage cheese look, you’ll speed up your metabolism, which decreases body fat all over your body, proportionately lowering your cellulite level in the process.
- Do what you can with your genes. Enough said about that.
A word about creams:
They’re not a solution to the problem, but there are some creams and lotions out there that “plump up” the skin – in a good way! If you think your cellulite is an eyesore (on your thighs, for example), a good cream might mask it somewhat.
Beware of creams that claim to eliminate cellulite, though. Remember that using a cream is simply a cosmetic approach and it would be impossible for a topical product to seep into your skin, zap the cellulite and make it disappear. All you’re doing is hydrating your skin and creating a temporary mask to hide the lumpiness.
Dr. Bonita Marks, assistant professor of physical education, exercise and sport science at the University of North Carolina, participated in a six-week study on “thigh-reducing” creams. After finding that neither these creams nor regular moisturizers reduced the thigh circumference of any of the volunteers, Marks concluded, “Manufacturers of these creams rake in the bucks for a product that doesn’t work.”
Don’t let the media tell you that having cellulite means that you’re fat. It’s normal and healthy. In fact, even supermodel Kylie Minogue bravely admitted, “Cellulite is there already. It’s only faint, but if I squeeze my thighs I can see it. I just make sure my lights are in the right place.”
Cellulite, as you probably know, is stubborn. It takes a long time to smooth things out, and we Americans are impatient people. The first thing you need to do is to accept the fact that, as of yet, there is no quick fix for cellulite.
Remember the irony, though: getting rid of it the hard way is much quicker (and more economical) than trying a dozen “speedy” methods!
Sometimes fat necrosis is found by chance following a mammogram (breast x-ray) during a routine breast screening appointment.
At the breast clinic most people have a breast examination followed by one or more of the following tests:.
- mammogram (breast x-ray) or ultrasound scan (uses high frequency sound waves to produce an image)
- fine needle aspiration (FNA), core biopsy or vacuum assisted excision biopsy
During the breast examination fat necrosis can be confused with breast cancer. It may also look like breast cancer on x-rays and scans which can cause a lot of anxiety. If the mammogram or ultrasound scan clearly shows fat necrosis, an FNA or core biopsy may not be needed. If there is any doubt about what the mammogram or ultrasound scan shows, then a biopsy will be done.
Read more information about the types of test you may have.
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4. How is fat necrosis treated?
Fat necrosis is harmless so you won’t usually need any further treatment or follow-up. In most cases the body will break it down over time (this could take a few months).
Surgery is usually avoided if possible because it can sometimes cause further fat necrosis. However an operation to remove the fat necrosis may be recommended if:
- the biopsy hasn’t given enough information to confirm a diagnosis of fat necrosis
- the fat necrosis is uncomfortable or tender
- the lump or lumpy area doesn’t go away by itself, or gets bigger
If you do need surgery, you’ll usually have an excision biopsy. This is an operation to remove the dead or damaged tissue, and may be done using either a local or a general anaesthetic. The operation will leave a small scar but this usually fades over time.
Some people are offered a vacuum assisted excision biopsy to remove the fat necrosis. After an injection of local anaesthetic, a small cut is made in the skin. A hollow probe connected to a vacuum device is placed through this. Using ultrasound or mammography as a guide, breast tissue is sucked through the probe by the vacuum into a collecting chamber. The biopsy device is used until the fat necrosis has been removed. This may mean that an operation under a general anaesthetic can be avoided.
Following an excision biopsy or vacuum assisted excision biopsy, the tissue removed is sent to the laboratory and examined under a microscope.
If you have fat necrosis that causes you discomfort but you’re not having an operation to remove it, your doctor may suggest treating it with pain relief such as paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen.
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5. Can fat necrosis increase the risk of breast cancer?
Having fat necrosis does not increase your risk of developing breast cancer. Some people think the fat necrosis might ‘turn into’ breast cancer, but there’s no evidence to support this.
However, it’s still important to be breast aware and go back to your GP if you notice any changes in your breasts, regardless of how soon these occur after your diagnosis of fat necrosis.
Find out more about being breast aware “
If you have any questions about fat necrosis or would just like to talk it through with an expert, you can call our free Helpline on 0808 800 6000 (Text Relay 18001).
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