What is a lipoma?
A Lipomaisa benign soft fatty lump due to overgrowth of fatty tissue. The dome shaped lesions typically feel soft and can be felt to move slightly under the skin when they are pressed. They occur in around 1% of the population and can vary from the size of a pea to several centimeters in diameter. They are often mistaken for cysts.
What is a cyst?
A cyst is a harmless sac-like growth in the deeper layers of the skin that contains keratin (shed skin cells). They are typically formed from the lining of a hair follicle that gets blocked, although relatively little is known about the cause of them or why certain individuals get more than others. They are extremely common. The cyst sac is filled with keratin, a soft white material that sometimes oozes out onto the skin’s surface and has an unpleasant odour. Occasionally they can become inflamed if the contents of the cyst rupture into the surrounding skin, causing them to be red and painful. Occasionally, bacteria can also enter the cyst and cause an infection needing to be treated with antibiotics.
Do they need treatment?
Small Cysts or Lipoma (e.g. less than 5mm) don’t usually need treatment but can easily be removed by a minor surgical procedure. Larger ones tend to be removed because they are unsightly or because they have become inflamed. Both are treated by surgical excision, where a small surgical opening into the skin is made to remove the lesion. This is done under local anaesthetic by our doctor and will require stitches which will need to be removed 7-10 days later.
Is it safe to remove a Cyst or Lipoma?
Most cysts and lipoma are perfectly harmless and their removal is entirely optional. Occasionally they can become inflamed or painful, but generally they are removed purely for cosmetic reasons or comfort.
What are the side-effects?
As with any surgical procedure there are some potential side-effects that may result from a procedure. Whilst we do everything we can to get the best possible cosmetic result for you, the procedure will result in a scar following surgery. As with all surgical procedures it is possible that the wound may become infected, but this is rare and most patients are pleased with the results.