Lipoma in the neck, how to recognize it?
The lipoma in the neck is a relatively frequent reason for medical consultation. Let’s start by saying that the lipoma is a bulge that is composed of fat cells. It can appear anywhere on the body, but it usually comes on the shoulders, back or neck.
Let’s clarify from the beginning that the lipoma in the neck is a benign tumor. It is a subcutaneous formation, that is, below the skin. It is suffered by anyone, regardless of gender, age or condition. Research indicates that up to 1% of the population has at least one lipoma in the body.
It is estimated that up to 10% of lipoma cases are located in the neck. The usual thing is that these small packages do not reach an area greater than 3 cm. In extremely rare cases they acquire large size.
Recognize a lipoma in the neck
Both the lipoma in the neck, and those that may appear in other parts of the body, have a rounded shape. They are perceived as a soft mass to the touch. They are not deeply attached, but their appearance is superficial. If you touch them, you feel how they move.
The lipoma in the neck usually does not cause pain. They usually have a very slow growth, although this usually stops and does not reach large magnitudes. They are almost always located on the back or side of the neck.
To recognize a lipoma in the neck, the following criteria should be taken into account:
- It is a bulge that is under the skin and is shaped like a dome.
- It has a soft consistency. If the consistency is hard, we speak of a cyst.
- If they are pressed, they move and do not cause pain.
Malignant tumors are usually very rigid, hard and immovable. No matter how hard you try to move them, they will remain there. Sometimes the lipoma in the neck causes pain, particularly when they are located near a nerve and begin to grow. The increase in size in a lipoma is usually slow and almost imperceptible.
Causes and diagnosis
Despite this, some factors have been defined that facilitate the appearance of a lipoma in the neck. These are:
- Heritage. It seems to be the most common cause for the appearance of lipomas. The most usual is that the relatives of a person with lipoma also present these tumors.
- Obesity. It is suspected that there is a relationship between obesity and lipomas, although this has not been fully determined.
- Gender. Lipomas are more frequent in women, basically because they are more likely to accumulate fat.
- Clinic history. Apparently, liver diseases or sugar problems are factors that contribute to the appearance of lipomas.
It is not always easy to diagnose a lipoma in the neck. It looks a lot like the inflammation of a lymph node. It also has many similarities with certain cysts and tumors. In order to be able to define what it is about, the usual thing is for the doctor to do an exhaustive interview about the appearance and evolution of the bundle.
Most likely, he will immediately scan the tumor, palpating the area. If there is a pain, or the symptoms are not clear, it is common to order an ultrasound or another type of imaging test. It is also possible that a biopsy is requested.
The lipoma in the neck can appear at any age. However, it has been proven that there is greater risk in the ages between 40 and 60 years. There are also some health conditions that favor the appearance of these tumors. The most frequent are the Bannayan-Riley-Ruvalcaba, Madelung, Cowden, and Gardner syndromes.
It has also been detected that lipomas are more frequent in people who practice sports and who have recurrent injuries in the same areas of the body. That is why it is important to protect the areas that are most exposed to systematic shocks.
Whatever the case, whenever a lump of these appears, either in the neck or elsewhere, you should go to the doctor. The human body is not a machine and each person is different. So sometimes what seems to be a lipoma is not and vice versa.