The human body is complex organism and at times mystifying. Alertness to changes is the best way to ensure early treatment but at times, paying close attention may bring anxieties of its own. It is normal to feel unnerved or nervous if one has discovered a growth, bump, or lump on the skin surface. Some (and most) changes are perfectly natural and harmless (if not desirable). Similarly, most breast lumps are not cancerous.
Let’s look at a brief overview of growths seen on or near the skin’s surface. The best course of action if you have found something that is new or unusual, is to schedule a professional evaluation.
Lumps & Bumps
The overwhelming majority of lump and bumps are qualified as soft tissue masses. This large category encompasses growths occurring almost anywhere on the body. The most commonly identified soft tissue masses are cysts (including Ganglia) and lipomas.
The distinguishing factor between a cyst and a lipoma is that a cyst generally contains only fluid while a lipoma generally contains only fat (although there may be exceptions).
What is a Lipoma?
A Lipoma is a benign fatty tumour. They vary greatly in size and texture (rubbery and spongy or firm). Most frequently they are slow-growing, move under direct pressure, not sore to the touch, and located under the skin but above the muscle layer. Thankfully they rarely get infected or result in physical problems. Occasionally, they put pressure on nearby nerves resulting in pain. In this scenario they can be removed in a straightforward procedure. At other times their presence or visibility is the issue and a choice is made to remove them for peace of mind &/ aesthetic reasons.
A cyst is a fluid-filled sac. The type of fluid within and the placement of a cyst defines its classification. The majority of cysts grow slowly and are completely harmless. They may originate as a result of an infection or for reasons that remain unknown. Many resolve on their own or exist without creating an issue. Others will require intervention such as drainage, excision, or treatment for infection. They rarely cause pain except for when inflamed or infected. They can be removed due to size, visibility or symptomatology.
• Epidermoid, Sebaceous, or Skin Cysts – These are the most common type of skin cysts and are found on the face, neck, back, or in areas with more hair. They are generally the result of irritation of the Sebaceous glands (oil glands) or the covering skin cells, called keratinocytes.
• Ganglia/Ganglion Cyst – Often referred to as a Ganglion this type of growth is in fact a cyst. Its pre-eminent distinguishing factor is its location near or on a joint or tendon sheath. Filled with a thick, clear jelly-like substance these range in size from pea to grape. They may increase in size after activity or with increased use of the affected joint. Often, they are not bothersome and in such cases they are left alone. However, if they cause pain or are unsightly then they can be drained and or removed.
• Internal & Glandular Cysts – These cysts form on internal organs and glands such as the thyroid. They are likely to be discovered during medical exams or in an emergency and will likely require advanced imaging for diagnosis. Treatment protocols remain similar with either drainage &/ removal being an option should their size, placement, or qualities give cause for concern.
Skin Growths and Skin Cancers
Skin Cancers – Certain skin cancers may first present as a strange lump or bump. The key to successful treatment (of all unwanted disease) is early detection and correct identification. In cases where a growth is suspicious, a biopsy or resection is performed. Read more on skin growths, moles, and when not to wait here.
Treatment is available for the full scope of skin growths including lipoma, cysts, skin-tags, and lesions. The type of mass and any accompanying symptoms will direct treatment recommendations.
Most anomalies stop causing anxiety once they are correctly identified.
When physical pain or discomfort is present, draining or removing the offending growth may be required. When the growth or mass is not painful but creates psychological unease – it is still advised to take action. Early detection and diagnosis allow for peace of mind. Similarly, early removal &/ treatment is to be valued.
An Eye for Aesthetics
Whether you need to have a dermal area of concern checked-out or you are seeking to alter or remove a skin concern, a medical professional well-versed in Aesthetics can benefit you. Cosmetic Surgeons are sensitive to aesthetic concerns and possess a professional eye for preserving and maintaining a pleasing aesthetic. Their comfort and familiarity with precise incisions and scar minimization techniques serve those who want to be left with little visible evidence of the growth or its treatment.
Experience Relief & Gain Peace of Mind
Experience relief when you seek a professional evaluation to assess and correctly identify a skin lump or bump. Dr Potgieter is warm, experienced, and dedicated. His extensive surgical experience with both reconstructive procedures and Cosmetic Surgery allow him access to a wide range of techniques and approaches that honour your concerns.
Don’t wait to get a skin concern checked out or let unease be an excuse to delay an appointment. He and his team will always make your safety and comfort the top priority.
Attention to hygiene & Covid-19 protocol is strictly observed and all precautionary measures are adhered to.
Call today 011 463 8602