What Are the Different Types of Lipoma Tumors?

T. Carrier

A soft tissue tumor that likely poses no malignant threat is known as a lipoma tumor. While the tumors generate from the same general source, fat, they can attack different locations and different individuals. Types like pleomorphic lipoma and spindle cell lipoma tend to affect a certain gender. Others gain footing on different bodily areas, including neural fibrolipomas and chondroid lipomas. Superficial subcutaneous lipomas, corpus callosum lipomas, and angiolipomas comprise additional types of lipomas.

Lipoma tumors usually impact middle-aged individuals.
Lipoma tumors usually impact middle-aged individuals.

These growths are recognizable by their softness and their small size. They arise from adipose tissue, or fat tissue, and usually impact middle-aged individuals. For the most part, causes for these growths are unknown, although certain genes are suspected to contribute to their development. Since most of these tumors are non-threatening, surgical removal is usually not necessary.

A doctor may recommend surgery for many types of lipoma tumors, especially if they become painful or cause other issues.
A doctor may recommend surgery for many types of lipoma tumors, especially if they become painful or cause other issues.

Specific symptoms and presentations of lipoma tumors depend upon which classification the tumors are found under. Perhaps the most prevalent lipoma is the superficial subcutaneous lipoma. Researchers dub this variety as superficial because it grows right below the skin’s surface. Any area of body fat can generate these tumors, but the middle portion of the body is most susceptible.

Some types, such as chondroid lipomas and intradermal spindle cell lipomas, occur on specific parts of the body. The former type usually generates on the legs whereas the latter can occur from the head to the chest, and sporadically on the limbs. Chondroid lipomas also typically occur further underneath the skin and have a more firm and yellowish structure. Both types primarily affect women.

Other variations of lipoma tumors seem to target men. Pleomorphic lipomas, for example, take place on the upper trunks of men, usually on the back or neck. This particular type is composed of larger cells as well. Spindle-cell lipomas possess a similar area of manifestation, but they typically produce no symptoms and may grow at a significantly lower rate than other lipomas.

While a sizable percentage of lipoma tumors do not cause any discernible side effects, some versions can cause complications due to their locations or complexity. If a lipoma arises near a nerve, the growth can press against the nerve and facilitate numbness, tingling, or other uncomfortable sensations. These particular tumors are called neural fibrolipomas. Similarly, the congenital and largest-sized corpus callosum lipoma can compress organs and impact inner bodily functioning if it grows to a great size of around 20 centimeters (about 7,87 inches). In addition, angiolipomas — which are created close to the skin’s surface — can also induce painful sensations.

Two other primary lipoma tumors exist: the angiolipoleiomyoma and the hibernoma. The first type has slight differences from similar lipomas, as it consists of a complicated network of blood vessels, muscle cells, and other types of tissue in correlation with the fat tissue. In contrast, hibernomas are composed primarily of brown fat.

Lipoma tumors may develop on the back.
Lipoma tumors may develop on the back.

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