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A fatty lipoma is a type of tumor or growth that is in almost every case benign. It is made up of fat tissue, and it has a very characteristic feel. Most lipomas feel rubbery, or are easy to move slightly. They also aren’t painful.
There are different types of lipomas, but generally people have subcutaneous types. These are located near the skin’s surface and are usually easy to see and feel. They may occur most on the mid-body, the legs or the arms. Most are small in size and only a few centimeters long, but some lipomas can get very large, and there are records of those reaching over half a foot (15.24 cm) in length.
Lipomas usually don’t get anywhere near this large, and many people don’t ever treat them because risk of them developing into cancer is slim to none. There is a small but active debate on this issue. Of course, they can be removed if a person with one feels it is unsightly. Otherwise doctors may recommend their removal only if they start to increase in size dramatically, if they start to hurt, if the lipoma leaks bad smelling fluid, or if it is any way causing problems in function.
Doctors aren’t always certain why people get these fatty deposits, but they’ve discovered that the majority of people who get one are 40 or older. It is thought that trauma to the area where a lipoma develops might be a causal factor. Many people who get them do seem to have a family history of these tumors. It is often mistakenly assumed that those who develop these tumors do so because they are carrying extra weight; this is not true and plenty of very slim people have problems with these tumors occurring.
There are some diseases that may make people more prone to developing lipomas. These include lipomatosis, which is inherited. In this condition people may have several of these tumors on the body at the same time. If a fatty lipoma exists in the corpus collusum of the brain this is also an inherited disease. Dercum disease, which usually affects postmenopausal women may result in painful fatty tumors all over the body, and may be accompanied by a variety of other symptoms including memory loss, fever, extreme pain, headache and insomnia.
Most people who get a fatty lipoma may simply want to remove it, and there are a few methods that may work. Sometimes liposuction is used to evacuate the fat tissue, but this isn’t always the best method, and the tumor can recur if there are remaining fat cells. Alternately, there are medications that can be injected into the tumor to kill it. Standard treatment is generally to excise the tumor surgically, which is often an outpatient procedure that may only require local anesthetic, though this will depend on size and location of the tumor. Don’t be surprised if doctors want to test the fatty lipoma; they may do so to rule out cancer, particularly if reason for removal was rapid growth, and even if cancer is extremely unlikely.