Subcutaneous Lumps and Bumps
Finding an unfamiliar bump on your body can often cause you to fall into an Internet rabbit hole, pondering incorrect self-diagnoses, and walking away with a whole bunch of anxiety. Of course, there are the times that a skin growth is serious, but more times than not it is a benign cyst or lipoma. The first step? Take a breath and try not to jump to the worst possible conclusion. Then give your doctor a call to get the lump checked out.
What Could It Be?
There are a number of possible causes of a lump under the skin:
- Cyst: Sac-like pockets that contains fluid or waxy material. Cysts can appear almost anywhere on the body, even growing largely undetected. Cysts can be caused genetic conditions, infection, injury, chronic inflammation, and more. Most cysts are non-cancerous, but if your cyst has a diameter over 5 centimeters, a quick reoccurrence after removal, or signs of infection you should call your doctor. Regardless, it is advisable to see your primary care physician or specialist to point it out to them.
- Lipoma: A fatty, slow growing mass located between the skin and muscle layer. Lipomas are soft to the touch and moveable. They can occur in multiples or can be isolated. Lipomas are noncancerous, and treatment is not usually necessary unless it causes discomfort or is unsightly.
- Lymph node: Lymph nodes are located all over the body as a part of the immune system. Sometimes, when fighting an infection, lymph nodes can swell. This is typically a normal bodily occurrence, but there is a chance that swollen lymph nodes can be a sign of chronic disease or even cancer. This can be ruled out via blood test and biopsy.
- Melanoma: A form of skin cancer where pigment producing cells become cancerous. Risk factors include UV exposure, moles, fair skin, freckles, and genetics. To avoid complications, regularly check your skin for abnormal spots or growths. If you notice something unusual, get it checked out by a qualified dermatologist.
When to See a Doctor?
If you are one to lay awake at night thinking of the worst-case scenarios when you find something unusual under the skin, you can be reassured most lumps and bumps are not harmful in the slightest. However, a quick visit to your doctor is advisable. Your doctor may be able to offer a diagnosis right off the bat or may send you out for further testing. Typically we only perform surgery when the bump is or could be malignant or when it causes lifestyle issues.
The surgeons at SAMPA can help you determine if a subcutaneous lump or bump is something be concerned about, so feel free to schedule a consultation with us.