HEALTH FACTS: Lumps and Bumps

HEALTH FACTS: Lumps and Bumps


Some of the most common procedures performed by surgeons involve removal of “lumps and bumps” from various parts of the body.  These can vary in size and complexity, depending on the location and the cause.  They may be sources of pain or discomfort; other times they are cosmetically troublesome.  Commonly, they are a source of anxiety— especially if confused with breast lumps or skin cancer.  For this reason, I`d like to delve a bit into some “lumps and bumps” that we encounter.

Lipomas— benign fatty tumors; very common.  They are usually soft and rubbery; deeper ones may be firm.  They cause discomfort when in awkward locations.  These are easily excised and almost never malignant.

Cysts— several different types (sebaceous, dermoid, etc).  They are usually smaller but may become inflamed and sometimes become abscesses.  They are most common in the head, neck, and upper torso, and vary in size but are usually firm and tender when squeezed.  These are benign, and are also easy to remove, as long as they are not actively inflamed.

Ganglion— soft, fluid-filled swellings found near the wrists.  In the old days, they were treated by squashing with a heavy book!  They are formed from the lining of the joint capsule.  Unless excised, they tend to recur.  They are benign but entail a slightly more complicated process of excision.

Of course, there are many, many more culprits that can present with swellings or as masses, but these are the most common.  If there is a lump or bump that is troublesome, always play it safe and have it evaluated.  The majority are benign, but vigilance and early detection are still our best tools to fight any that may be more onerous.  Hope this helps!


This column is sponsored by Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center.

BIO: Dr. Shiva Seetahal is a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in minimally-invasive procedures.  He has published over 20 scientific articles and book chapters.  For questions related to surgical health, you can contact him at, or call his office at (863) 421-7626 to schedule an appointment.