Do you have a lump underneath your skin? If so, it might be an angiolipoma.
This is a benign tumor that’s made up of fatty tissue. It’s also called a “Vascular Lipoma” since contains benign blood vessels.
They are most common on the forearm, and can be painful. Men in their 20s are most likely to be affected.
Unfortunately, researchers aren’t totally sure what causes them. The lump can asymptomatic (no pain) or it can cause a lot of discomfort.
If it’s causing a lot of pain, then your doctor may opt to remove it.
Angiolipoma Risk Factors
Currently, there aren’t any known risk factors for angiolipoma. However, this doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
In some cases, this condition can run in families. Remember: just because you have a specific risk factor, doesn’t mean you’ll get the condition.
A risk factor simply increases your chances of getting the condition. This is good rule to keep in mind when calculating your risk of disease.
Young adults between 20-30 are most likely to get it. While both genders are affected, males get it more often. Finally, there’s no apparent difference in risk between ethnic or racial groups.
Signs of Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of this medical condition include:
- Subcutaneous tumors that appear in multiple locations throughout the body.
- The forearm is the most common location for these tumors.
- Less common regions include the chest, lower legs, back, and arms.
- The lumps can be painful.
Sometimes, the nodule won’t cause any pain. When people see strange lumps on their body, they immediately think cancer.
But cancer isn’t the most common cause for bodily lumps. In fact, most of the time, bodily lumps are benign and harmless.
They can be lipomas (benign fatty lumps underneath the skin), sebaceous cysts, and more. If you have concerns over an undiagnosed lump, talk to your doctor.
How is an Angiolipoma Diagnosed?
A tissue biopsy is the best way to determine what an undiagnosed lump is.
It’s a relatively straightforward procedure that involves removing a small part of the lump.
The tissue can then be observed under a microscope to check for malignancies (cancer).
Depending on your medical history and other factors, your dermatologist may be able to determine what it is by looking at it.
A blood test can also be done to check for tumor markers in the blood. If the lump turns out to be benign, they may recommend that you leave it alone.
If it’s bothersome, or causing pain, you can opt to have it surgically removed. Unless your angiolipoma is causing pain, or is hurting your appearance, it might be a good idea to let it be.
Typically, the only complications you’ll need to worry about are those associated with surgery.
During removal of the angiolipoma, it’s possible to damage surrounding nerves or blood vessels.
This should stress the importance of finding a surgeon whom you can trust. But mistakes happen, so you should be aware of the potential complications.
Also, there’s no guarantee that the tumor won’t come back after surgery. Some patients report having the tumor grow back in the same spot within just a few months.
Another potential complication is pain. This condition can cause a lot of discomfort, which is why people opt for surgery.
The two main treatment options include:
- Pain Medication: In some people, an angiolipoma can cause a lot of pain. In this case, pain medication may be required. The pain can be acute or dull depending on the individual.
- Surgical Removal: If the tumor becomes too painful, then you can choose to have it surgically remove. As we mentioned earlier, this doesn’t come without a little risk.
Once the surgery is complete, you will probably need regular checkups and screenings. This is to make sure that the tumor isn’t growing back.
Unfortunately, not all surgeries make the tumors go away permanently. They can grow back over time, requiring yet another surgical removal.
Current medical research still doesn’t have any answers about how to prevent this condition. For now, these are the only treatment options available.
The good news is that in most cases, this tumor won’t present any symptoms. In those people who are asymptomatic, you won’t need to follow any treatments.
Simply getting the lump checked periodically should suffice. If the tumor is very small, there’s a good chance that it won’t come back after surgery (it’s not a guarantee though).
Some people can have multiple benign tumors growing all around their body, which can become problematic.
People don’t die from benign subcutaneous tumors such as these. At most, they’ll cause pain and/or may hurt your aesthetic appearance.
The “ANGEL” Acronym
Painful tumors are grouped together using the “ANGEL” acronym. The letters stand for Angiolipoma, Neuroma, Glomus Tumor, Eccrine Spiradenoma, and Leiomyoma.
If you haven’t been diagnosed yet, you could have any one of these. Remember that most bodily lumps aren’t a death sentence.
While they’re annoying, and sometimes painful, rarely do they lead to anything serious.