What Is Lipomatosis?

Lipomas may require surgical removal.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jennifer Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Lipomatosis is a condition that causes lipomas to grow in the fatty areas of tissue. Generally, a lipoma is a benign growth and does not grow as rapidly as a cancerous tumor. Most lipomas are present on the chest, extremities, or shoulders, but there are instances when lipomas are present internally.

If a lipoma can be felt in the muscle or fatty area, it is soft and oval or round in shape. Although it is connected to tissue, it can be moved slightly. If the lipoma sits on or near a nerve, pressure may cause pain.

Virchow’s metamorphosis is one type of lipomitosis. In this form, lipomas grow in the heart and salivary glands. If lipomas are detected in these areas, surgery may be required to remove the lipomas and prevent life-threatening complications.

Pelvic lipomatosis is a second type. Lipomas grow in the pelvic area. Cystitis glandulitis and adenocarcinoma are two conditions that usually follow the growth of pelvic lipomas. These two conditions affect the bladder.

Familial multiple lipomatosis is a hereditary condition that often leads to the occurrence of lipomas. It can be found in successive generations. Similar to other forms, lipomas are generally limited to the chest and extremities.

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Treatment varies depending on the size and locations of the lipomas. When growths occur on or close to vital organs, surgical removal is almost always performed. For other areas, the lipomas are usually only removed if they are abnormally large, painful, or restrict movement.

The lipomas that result from lipomatosis can be surgically removed. A small incision is made to gain access. The lipoma is then cut away from the tissue it is connected to, and the incision is stitched closed.

Liposuction can be used to remove small lipomas, but it is often not effective for larger ones. Larger lipomas are more difficult to remove. Suction may not get all of the lipoma, which can result in regrowth. Smaller lipomas are not connected to as much tissue as larger ones.

Endoscopic removal is used for more dangerous lipomas, such as the ones that grow in the lungs, heart, or other areas where typical surgery is too risky. A special scope is used to navigate to the lipoma. It is then carefully removed with a tool attached to the scope.

Lipomatosis does not have a cure or a way to prevent the growth of lipomas. While most lipomas grow during adolescence, they can occur at any age from infancy to elder years. Lipomas can grow in singles and spread out, or can grow in clusters and in only one area of the body.

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