Comprehensive Guide to Skin Lumps & Bumps – Causes & Treatment
No one likes to find bumps and lumps on their skin, but fortunately, most are harmless and can be treated easily. This guide will provide information on the most common types of lumps and bumps, what causes them, how to treat them, and when you should seek medical help.
What are they? Lipomas are small, fatty tumors that grow just under the skin. They are benign, meaning they are not cancerous, and usually develop in middle-aged adults. A lipoma usually appears as a small, smooth, rubbery lump. Lipomas occur most commonly on the trunk, shoulders, neck, and armpits, but can occur anywhere on the body.
Lipomas are usually soft to the touch, movable, and painless. They typically range in size from 0.5 to 5 centimeters (cm) but can grow larger. They are not harmful, but they can be unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable. They can be removed surgically if desired.
What causes them? It is not clear what exactly causes lipomas to form, but they tend to run in families.
How to treat them? Lipomas are harmless and do not require treatment unless they are causing pain or discomfort. However, lipomas can be removed surgically if desired.
What are they? Cysts are small sacs filled with fluid or semisolid material that originates from abnormal tissue growth and form under the skin. Cysts can occur anywhere on the body and vary greatly in size. Some are so small that they cannot be seen with the naked eye, while others can grow large enough to cause disfigurement.
They are common and are often painless and harmless but can become infected and cause pain or discomfort. Cysts can be removed surgically if desired.
What causes them? Cysts can be caused by a variety of things, including blockages in the skin’s oil glands, infection, or injury.
How to treat them? Most cysts do not require treatment and will eventually go away on their own. However, if a cyst becomes infected, it may need to be drained by a doctor. Cysts can also be removed surgically if desired.
What are they? Moles are small, dark spots on the skin that are usually harmless. A mole is a growth on the skin that may be flat or raised, and can vary in color from brown to black. They can vary in size and color, and may appear anywhere on the body.
Moles are usually benign (noncancerous), but some moles can develop into melanoma, a type of skin cancer so it is important to have them checked by a doctor if they change in size or appearance. Moles can be removed surgically if desired.
What causes them? Moles are usually caused by a combination of sun exposure and genetics.
How to treat them? Moles do not require treatment unless they change in size or appearance, at which point they should be checked by a doctor. Moles can be removed surgically if desired.
What are they? Warts are small growths that appear on the skin. They are caused by a virus, and are contagious.
What causes them? Warts are caused by a virus, and can be spread through direct contact with someone who has the virus.
How to treat them? There are many over-the-counter treatments for warts, but some require a prescription from a doctor. Warts can also be removed surgically if desired.
What are they? Sebaceous glands are small, oily glands that secrete oil onto the skin. They are most common on the face and scalp.
What causes them? Sebaceous glands can become enlarged due to a variety of factors, including age, puberty, stress, and genetics.
How to treat them? There is no specific treatment for sebaceous glands, but they usually go away on their own over time. If they are causing discomfort or embarrassment, they can be removed surgically.
When to seek medical help?
If you have a lump or bump on your skin and are not sure what it is, it is best to consult a doctor. Some lumps and bumps, such as lipomas, cysts, and moles, are harmless, but others, such as warts and sebaceous glands, may be indicative of a more serious condition. It is always better to be safe than sorry, so if you have any concerns at all, please see a doctor.
If you are experiencing any pain, swelling, or redness around a lump or bump, this may be a sign of infection and you should seek medical help right away. Lipomas, cysts, moles, and warts can all become infected and cause pain or discomfort. If you think you may have an infection, please see a doctor as soon as possible.
In some cases, lumps and bumps may require surgery to remove them. Lipomas, cysts, moles, warts, and sebaceous glands can all be removed surgically if desired. If you are considering surgery, please consult with a doctor to discuss your options.
Which doctor you should consult?
There are many different types of doctors who can diagnose and treat skin lumps and bumps. Your primary care doctor, such as a family physician or internist, can evaluate most lumps and bumps.
If your primary care doctor is unsure about the diagnosis, they may refer you to a dermatologist, who is a doctor specializing in the skin. In some cases, you may need to have a plastic surgeon remove the growth in some situations.
Why choose a plastic surgeon to remove the skin lumps?
A plastic surgeon is a specialist in the removal of lumps and bumps from the skin. They have extensive training in this area and can provide you with the best care possible. A general surgeon is not as specialized in this area, and may not be able to provide you with the same level of care.
In addition, a plastic surgeon may have more experience performing surgery to remove lipomas, cysts, moles, warts, and sebaceous glands. They may also have more knowledge about the risks and benefits associated with each type of surgery. If you are considering surgery to remove a skin lump or bump, it is important to consult with a plastic surgeon.
What to expect before, during, and after surgery?
Each type of surgery is different, so it is important to consult with your plastic surgeon to get specific instructions. In general, you can expect the following.
Before the surgery:
- You will likely need to have a preoperative appointment with the surgeon to go over your medical history and discuss the surgery in detail.
- You will need to stop taking blood thinning medications (such as aspirin) several days before the surgery.
- In some cases, you may need to shave the area where the lump or bump is located.
During the surgery:
- The type of surgery will depend on the size and location of the growth. Smaller growths can often be removed with local anesthesia, while larger growths may require general anesthesia, so you will be asleep during the procedure.
- The surgeon will make a small incision near the lump or bump and remove it surgically.
- You will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area around the growth.
- The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
After the surgery:
- You will likely be discharged from the hospital later that day.
- You will be given a course of antibiotics to prevent infection.
- You will need to keep the area clean and dry for at least 48 hours after surgery.
- You may experience some pain and swelling after surgery, but this can be managed with pain medication. Some swelling and bruising is normal and will resolve on its own over time.
- You will need to take it easy for a few days and avoid strenuous activity.
- The stitches or staples will be removed within 7-10 days.
You will have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to ensure that everything is healing properly.
It may take several weeks for the area to heal fully. Most people are able to return to their normal activities within a week or two.
If you experience any fever, redness, or drainage from the surgical site, please see a doctor right away as this may be a sign of infection.
Who is not suitable for surgical removal?
There are some people who are not suitable for surgery to remove skin lumps and bumps. These include:
- People with a history of blood clots or pulmonary embolism.
- People with a history of infection or sepsis.
- People who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- People who are taking blood thinners.
- People who are allergic to anesthesia.
- Children under the age of 18.
There are many different types of lumps and bumps that can occur on the skin. They can be caused by a variety of things, but most are harmless and can be treated easily. However, some may be indicative of a more serious condition, so it is always best to consult with a doctor if you are unsure.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the growth. When deciding whether to have surgery, it is important to consult with a plastic surgeon at WC Ong Plastic Surgery clinic who has extensive training in this area.