Skin Mass

Michael Todd Wood, MD, FACS

Board Certified General Surgeon located in Houston, TX & Sugar Land, TX

Even noncancerous skin masses such as lipomas and cysts can be hard to live with because of their appearance or the tenderness they can cause. Michael Todd Wood, MD, is a top rated surgeon with three office locations for your convenience – two in Sugar Land, Texas, and one in Houston. He’s well-known for his skill at removing skin masses, as well as his patient-first approach to surgical care and the friendly environment you’ll find in his practice. Schedule a visit today at the office of your choice by calling or using the online booking tool.

Skin Mass Q & A

What is a lipoma?

A lipoma is a soft, doughy-feeling growth comprised of fatty tissue that develops under your skin. Most often found in adults, lipomas can occur on any part of the body that contains fat cells, including the:

  • Face
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Back
  • Abdomen
  • Arms
  • Thighs

Classified as benign growths or tumors of fatty tissue, lipomas are rarely harmful but may cause discomfort because of their size, location, or appearance.

What causes lipomas?

It’s not clear what causes lipomas to develop, but they seem to run in families, so genetics may play a role. You’re also at increased risk of developing a lipoma as you age. They’re most common in people aged 40-60.

What are skin cysts?

Skin cysts are closed pockets of tissue that are filled with fluid, skin debris, or other material. They typically feel smooth to the touch and may roll when you apply pressure. Skin cysts contain an opening to the surface (epidermal pore).

Cysts can become quite large and infected with bacteria, which can cause redness, warmth, and significant pain. At this point, they’re considered abscesses and typically require surgical treatment, which may include incision and drainage or excision.

How can I tell whether a skin mass needs to be removed?

Only a physician can determine whether a skin mass needs surgical removal. You should see a doctor any time you notice a persistent lump or mass, whether painful or not. However, benign (noncancerous) skin masses have certain characteristics that may help identify their nature.

Lipomas, for instance, are typically soft, move easily, and grow slowly over time. They don’t require removal unless you experience discomfort. Cystic lesions are generally removed when they enlarge, become painful, or show signs of infection.

How are skin masses removed?

Treatment methods can vary and may include incision and drainage, during which a cyst is lanced so the material within can drain. However, cysts can return over time and surgical excision usually offers a more permanent solution. Lipomas also respond well to surgical excision. Typically, the area around the mass is numbed with local anesthetic to eliminate pain during the excision and sutures may be placed afterward to speed healing and minimize scarring.

For further evaluation and consultation regarding the removal of a skin mass, schedule an appointment with Dr. Wood today. Call the practice or use the online scheduler to book your visit.