Lipomas and cysts are small growths which can occur under the skin. Typically, these conditions are benign, or non-cancerous growths.
LipomasA lipoma is a small glob of fatty tissue that can grow underneath the skin; some people may have many lipomas, and they can occur anywhere under the skin and sometimes even within a muscle. Occasionally, people may suffer from multiple lipomas which grow under the skin, and may have a family history of similar growths occurring in relatives. A lipoma is usually treated with removal. The surgery to remove a lipoma involves making a small skin incision over the growth, dissecting healthy tissue away from the lipoma, and removing the lipoma before closing the skin incision. Lipomas can often be removed with local anesthesia alone; this involves injecting a numbing medication under the skin and the person undergoing treatment can remain awake for the procedure with minimal to no pain or discomfort during the surgery. Sometimes, a person may need sedation for removal of the lipoma; this is more common with very large lipomas or lipomas growing deeper under the skin or in the muscles.
A cyst is another type of growth under the skin. A cyst is a growth that has a "capsule" or a wall of cells that is filled with fluid. There are many different types of cysts; most cysts occurring under the skin are benign, or non-cancerous. Cysts (like lipomas) are generally treated with a surgery that involves numbing the skin with a numbing medication (local anesthetic), making a small incision over the cyst, and dissecting it free from surrounding healthy tissue. Once completely isolated from the healthy tissue, the cyst is removed, and the skin incision is closed.