I have a Large Soft Lump on my back- What is it???

  1. Hi everyone

    It has been awhile since I have been on these boards. Lots of things going on in my life...

    But anyway- I have a question for all of you seasoned nurses (who I am sure to know more than some doctor's).

    I have had a lump on the upper left-hand side of my back for probably a good year or two. It started out soft & small (yet noticeable to me).
    But over the last year, it has grown quite large. It has still remained soft- But it is noticeable to the point that you can actually see the lump sticking out through my shirt!

    I have been to 3 different internists. All of them say it is nothing, benign. It is more of a cosmetic problem than anything else.

    What in the world do you think this lump is?? When I press on it, I feel slight pain on one side (like it is resting on my spine or something).

    How can I get this thing removed? Could it be dangerous?

    Please give me some input on this lump, please! I am going to make an appointment with a dermatologist (unless any of you advise otherwise)

    Thanks so much!!

    Last edit by Joe V on Apr 7, '18
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    Joined: Jun '02; Posts: 406; Likes: 59


  3. by   ShandyLynnRN
    3 different docs have said this GROWING mass on your back is nothing???

    I have nothing to add.... maybe the dermatologist can help
  4. by   NursieRN
    Sounds like it could be a lipoma (which is just a fatty tumor).
    I would get another opinion from a different doc so you can
    find out for sure, and also to put your mind at ease.
  5. by   cactus wren
    What is a lipoma?
    A lipoma is a round, moveable lump under the skin (they range from pea-sized to the size of an egg, or even larger sometimes). Technically, lipomas are a type of tumor, but don't be alarmed by the term -- they're benign, which means they aren't cancerous. Lipomas are typically small -- less than one inch in diameter -- but can grow much larger in some cases. They are soft to the touch and if you manipulate yours with your fingers you may notice that it moves around a bit. Lipomas grow in the layer of fatty tissue beneath the skin, most commonly on the chest, back, shoulders, neck, and upper arms and thighs. The good news is that a lipoma is likely to grow very slowly; the bad news is that if you have one lipoma you may develop several

    could be this
  6. by   NursieRN
    P.S. I can't believe three docs blew it off!! Make sure you
    let us know what comes of it, o.k?
  7. by   NursieRN
    Jinx, Cactuswren!
  8. by   kmchugh
    I agree, sounds like it could be a lipoma. Generally, a doc would see that for what it was, and might leave it alone. Most docs I know would be in favor of removing it, but then most docs I know are surgeons. Removal of the lipoma is quick, safe procedure. Since it is large enough to be seen through your shirt, I'd have it removed, just because.

    Kevin McHugh
  9. by   JUSTYSMOM
    WOW- Thanks for such quick responses! Yep, 3 docs blew me off

    Quick question- how are lipomas removed & what kind of doc should I see?

  10. by   2ndCareerRN
    As some one who grows lipomas (for whatever reason), I can tell you a little about them.

    They are removed surgically. An incision is mde over the lipoma and then it is bluntly dissected and cut away from the surrounding tissue until it is free. The incision is then sutured shut to heal.

    Problems with removal of lipomas are like any invasive procedure; bleeding, infection, the wound not healing properly and reopening, a hematoma at the excision site requiring the wound to be reopened and packed daily till fully healed (could be months). Another problem could be excessive scarring if you have keloid skin.

    Any family practice, internist or surgeon should be able to remove them. It is a fairly simple procedure.

    A question I have always asked myself: What would be worse in this spot, a lump or a scar? If not bothering me, I leave them alone...mainly because of the complications above.

  11. by   memphispanda
    I have a friend, who supposedly had a lipoma on her back--looked like a buffalo hump, but it wasn't a true buffalo hump. Anyway, they removed hers through liposuction.
  12. by   P_RN
    A different dx might be a sebaceous cyst. Old timers called it a wen. They can get right large.

  13. by   tonchitoRN
    my husband had a lipoma removed from his back. he had had it for a number of years. it grew very slowly but was very noticible. the problem was because he had had it for so many years it was very deep. it was difficult to remove and he was under for a LONG time. good luck.
  14. by   jemb
    My thought, too, was that it is a lipoma. While the lipoma itself is not dangerous, the location of the lump can warrant surgery. Sometimes they grow in a position that can put pressure on a nerve or blood vessel and can then cause problems. I had a very large one on my shin many years ago that caused pain even from the pressure of stockings (pre-pantyhose days). My foot and ankle would swell so much my shoe would become too tight, and I would take the shoe off. I left many a class in high school carrying one shoe because I ciouldn't get it back on my foot!

    Finally had the lipoma removed when I was in college and never had to leave anyplace with only one shoe on again.