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Lipoma Vs Cyst in Singapore: What is the difference?

What is Lipoma?

Lipomas are slow-growing, fatty lumps that often sit between your skin and the underlying muscle layer beneath. They feel slightly doughy but are not tender and can move with light pressure.

Although lipomas are possible in anyone of all ages, lipomas are often detected in people between the ages of 40 to 60 years old. Generally, most people only have one lipoma, however, there are patients who have more than one lipoma at a time.

Lipomas are not cancerous but can sometimes grow too large which ultimately result in discomfort. Fortunately, lipoma removal is possible in Singapore, which is safe and effective.

What is a Cyst?

There are many different types of cysts; the two most common ones are epidermoid cysts and sebaceous cysts.

Epidermoid cysts are small bumps that appear beneath the skin on any part of the body but most commonly on your face, neck, and trunk. They are typically painless, grow slowly, and do not cause many problems in day-to-day activities. They also tend to go away on their own with time. If anything, they usually only cause cosmetic or aesthetic issues.

Sebaceous cysts arise from sebaceous glands that secrete oil which lubricates your hair and skin. Hence, they can occur anywhere on your body except your palms and soles of your feet. Sabaceous cysts are slow-growing and non-cancerous.

Your doctor can remove a cyst if it causes discomfort, its appearance bothers you, if it ruptures, or is infected.

Differences between a Lipoma and a Cyst in Singapore

LipomaFamily history of lipoma
Generally occurring between the ages of 40 to 60 (but can occur at any age)
Occurs at the neck, shoulders, back, abdomen, arms, and thighs
Soft and doughy to the touch
Small in size (approx. 5cm diameter)
Can be painful if it is pressing on nearby nerves or if it contains blood vessels
Physical examination
X-ray, MRI, or CT scan
Surgical removal
Steroid injections
CystCan form due to irritation and/or injury to your skin or hair follicle
Commonly occurs past puberty
Genetic disorder
Small, round bump(s) under your skin on your face, neck, or trunk
Tiny blackhead plugs in the central opening of the cyst
Contains thick, yellow, smelly material
Redness, swelling, and tender to the touch, if inflamed or infected
Physical examination
Injecting medicine to reduce swelling and inflammation
Incision and drainage
Minor surgical removal

Do Lipomas and Cysts go away on their own?

There are very few cases where lipomas resolve themselves. Individuals may choose to live with it while others may decide to get them removed. Thankfully, lipomas rarely cause any problems when left alone. Cysts, however, run the risk of getting infected, causing discharge to excrete from them. Once the infection is treated, it will heal but might leave a scar behind and the chances of recurrence are very high.

What is the best treatment options for Lipoma in Singapore?

As mentioned before, lipomas are not harmful or dangerous to your health. But you can opt to get it removed if it bothers you or causes aesthetic/cosmetic issues.

There are a few ways you can remove a lipoma in Singapore:

  • Surgical removal (performed on an outpatient basis)
  • Liposuction
  • Steroid injections

What is the best treatment options for Cysts in Singapore?

Unlike lipomas, cysts have a high chance of getting infected, causing some health risks if left untreated.

Placing a warm and moist cloth on the area can help to drain it, but this is not a permanent solution as it has a chance of recurring. In some rare cases, a cyst can go away on its own but it is always best to get treatment before it gets worse.

Treatment options include:

  • Draining the cyst(s)
  • Injecting medicine directly into the cyst(s) to reduce swelling
  • Surgical removal
  • Laser removal

If a cyst does get infected, your doctor will most likely prescribe you antibiotics.

Be it a lipoma or cyst, it is always best to consult a qualified and experienced doctor to address any concerns you may have in order to get the right treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you tell if it’s a cyst or lipoma?
On the surface, lipomas and cysts can look similar. Cysts are typically smaller in size compared to lipomas but are often found on the head and neck. Lipomas can grow almost anywhere on the body such as your shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks, and thighs.

Is a lipoma or cyst a tumour?
No. Lipomas and cysts are not cancerous. Lipomas are fatty lumps found between the skin and muscle layer. A cyst is a bump that appears just under the skin. Both are not cancerous and generally do not cause much harm. However, a cyst can pose a risk to your health if it gets infected and left untreated.

What happens if a lipoma is not removed?
Depending on the size and location of the lipoma, it may or may not cause discomfort. If it does get too large, it might cause some level of discomfort, especially if it presses on nearby tissues, nerves and/or blood vessels. If it grows too deep, it can potentially interfere with muscle growth.

Is lipoma removal and cyst removal medisave claimable?
Yes, both procedures are medisave claimable if your doctor deems it medically necessary.

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