Lipoma on Arms – Lipoma is the deposition of fats at a particular location, forming a tender lump under your skin. In most people, it stays as if it is lifelong. However, in some cases, it slowly develops and enlarges. It may lead to pain, bowel obstructions, and pressing underlying nerves or blood vessels. In this article, you can explore different lipomas, why they occur on arms and how they are treated.

Lipoma –Types

Lipomas can occur in anybody, such as arms, legs, neck, shoulders, torso, colon, abdomen, and forehead. The naming of different lipomas is according to the location in the body where they develop. These include,

  1. 1. Spindle cell lipomas:  The shape of fat cells in spindle lipomas is spindle-like, longer than wider, and tapering at ends when observed under a microscope.
  2. 2. Pleomorphic lipomas: The fat cells of this type of lipomas do not possess a fixed shape and size.
  3. 3. Myelolipoma: This Lipoma predominates the adrenal glands and mimics bone marrow. The lump of myelolipoma contains mature fat cells with blood cells producing tissues.
  4. 4. Hibernoma: It is a lipoma with brown fat cells. These cells are responsible for regulating the body temperature, and in response to this, they produce heat.
  5. 5. Fibrolipoma: Lipoma containing fat cells and fibrous tissues is called fibro lipoma
  6. 6. Conventional Lipoma: A lipoma containing fat white cells that store energy comes under conventional Lipoma. It is the most basic and common type of Lipoma.
  7. 7. Angiolipoma: The group of fat cells that develop in conjugation with blood vessels is referred to as angiolipomas. Lipoma often presses some of the blood vessels, which block the blood flow and is painless.

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Spotted Lipoma on my arm? There might be various reasons

There are multiple reasons behind getting lumps on your arms:

  1. 1. Genetic reason: Lipoma is often carried in families. It is a genetic problem, so if any close relative in your family has got a lipoma somewhere on the body, it might be why you inherited it from that person.
  2. 2. Dercum’s disease: This disorder is uncommon, but if a person suffers from this disease, then that person is at high risk of getting lipomas. The lipomas, in this case, are painful and can grow on legs, arms and abdomen.
  3. 3. Familial multiple lipomatosis: As the name suggests, this disease is associated with multiple lipid nodules on the arms and trunk.

Other reasons for developing Lipoma in arms include abrupt fat deposition due to adverse effects of drugs, metabolic disorders, or unhealthy lifestyle. 

Lipoma on arms- diagnosis

Can I diagnose Lipoma on my own?

If you observe lumpy swelling on your skin that is tender on touch and can be slightly moved by your finger and there is no irritation, itching or inflammation, it is mostly a lipoma. It can be painless, or in some cases, it is painful. In this situation, you must ensure it with your doctor. 

Your doctor will undergo the following examinations to confirm that it is a lipoma and that it is not liposarcoma or any other condition:

  1. 1. Physical examination: The doctor will touch that lump and press gently to check if it is painful or not and to detect if it is tender.
  2. 2. Biopsy: The doctor may ask you for a biopsy. It is a diagnostic test that involves taking out a sample of tissue of that particular region and observing it under a microscope. The biopsy will help detect the type of tissues involved in that lump and plan further treatment procedures.
  3. 3. Imaging tests: along with biopsy, the doctor wants to make sure that it is a lipoma and not a cyst so that the doctor might ask you for the following tests:
  1. i) CT scan
  2. ii) MRI
  3. iii) Ultrasound

These tests will help in a detailed visual examination of the lipomas, like the lump’s exact location, its depth, and if it is conjugated with some blood vessels or pressing some underlying nerves or tissues.

Is Lipoma on my arms treatable? 

Yes, Lipoma on arms is treatable; there are various treatment options for different types of Lipoma:

  1. 1. Natural remedies
  2. 2. Targeted drugs
  3. 3. Surgeries

Removal Of Lipoma in Arms

Surgical procedures for removing Lipoma involve making a minute cut on the swelled-up part and extracting the excess fat. This procedure may require anaesthesia. It can be, 

  1. 1. Local anaesthesia– this is given to patients whose Lipoma is small-sized and not so deep; making a minute cut at that site won’t be too painful. 
  2. 2. General anaesthesia– The surgeon provides general anaesthesia for deep, large lumps and those associated with nerves or blood vessels. This anaesthesia will make the patient sleep throughout the procedure, and the patient will not feel pain.
  3. 3. Injection lipolysis is one of the methods to dissolve the Lipoma in arms using chemical compounds that dissolve fats. This treatment is the least painful, but the success depends on the type of Lipoma treated.

Will there be any problem if I do not get my Lipoma treated?

Yes, untreated Lipoma may cause various serious concerns. The decision to get it treated or not largely depends on the type of Lipoma. In a few cases, Lipoma does not harm a person, and that person can live with the lump for his whole life. On the other hand, there are certain conditions in which lipoma is needed to get removed immediately; these include,

  1. 1. If your Lipoma is growing 
  2. 2. When your Lipoma is causing pain
  3. 3. If the Lipoma is pressing some nerves
  4. 4. If the Lipoma is affecting nearby blood vessels (causing bleeding or blood clotting)
  5. 5. If the Lipoma is causing other symptoms
  6. 6. If the Lipoma is disturbing in daily chores (bowel problems)
  7. 7. If a lipoma is becoming the center of attention
  8. 8. If lipoma makes you feel uncomfortable due to cosmetic reasons

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What causes lipomas in the arm?

Lipoma is developed due to the accumulation of fat cells at a particular point. There are many reasons for the development of Lipoma:

  1. 1. Metabolic disorders: Lipoma on arms may arise as a result of various metabolic disorders that are related to fat deposition, accumulation or oxidation of fatty acids
  2. 2. Genetic problem: Lipoma is hierarchical, which means this trait is carried in families. If your family member has Lipoma, you will most likely get it.

According to the case studies of affected patients, it has been found that there are some common deletions in a particular gene in the Lipoma affected patients. Other patients have got rearrangements in their chromosomes.

Q2. Can I diagnose Lipoma on my own?

Lipoma is not a metabolic disorder that is treatable at home. No exercise can relieve the symptoms of Lipoma. Hence, to get it treated, you must visit a doctor, undergo the prescribed diagnostic tests and undergo surgery if required. 

Q3. Is Lipoma on my arms treatable? 

Yes, Lipoma on arms is treatable. You can get your Lipoma removed surgically or by injection lipolysis. Surgical removal of Lipoma is the most common procedure, ensuring a complete recovery within two weeks, even if the scar goes off until the third week. The total time for lipoma surgery is 20 – 45 minutes.

Q4. How do I get rid of lipomas on my arms?

To get your removed permanently, you must first consult with the doctor, take the prescribed diagnostic tests like ultrasound or MRI and then undergo surgery as soon as possible, before the lipoma enlarges and deepens into the skin.

Q5. Can a lipoma take the form of cancer?

No, cannot take the form of cancer, but hey are benign tumours as they grow at a specific 

Q6. Till what size can my lipoma be removed?

Generally, the size range of Lipoma is 1-10 cm, and all the sizes in between this range are treatable. Those lipomas with larger diameters deep inside the skin are difficult to remove and take more time to recover.

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