Removal of soft tissue lumps and bumps

What are Soft Tissue Lumps and Bumps ?

Soft tissue lumps are tumours growth of body cells emerging anywhere in the body: nerves, blood vessels, fat, cartilage, tendons, muscles, ligaments, and other tissues. These masses are commonly referred to as lumps and bumps. These masses can be cancerous or benign. Generally, these are roughly round in shape, but could also be or elongated or elliptical like a sausage. Such masses when greater than 5 cm (2 inches) carry the highest risk of being malignant and are worth a medical evaluation.

Benign masses such as with an abscess are more likely to be painful when touched. Whereas sarcomas those the tumours with cancerous growths are mostly painless. Newly found soft tissue mass is rarely an emergent condition of this type. Also, it’s not that all soft tissue masses would require surgery, and removal of a known benign mass can be delayed safely. Though, any suspected cancerous growth should be examined and biopsied as soon as possible so further treatment can be rendered.

Cancerous masses are more likely to grow rapidly with fingerless or satellite lesions around them. Soft tissue masses grown anywhere should be examined without delay. People tend to think the bumps are not harmful since the tissue masses often cause no pain,

Any growing mass of unknown origin discovered newly should be evaluated by a specialist. Any sprain or hematoma that is the bruise that lasts longer than six weeks require a medical examination for the possibility of sarcoma, a cancerous growth. Any soft tissue mass often due to its location is initially misdiagnosed as a muscle sprain, hematoma, or old trauma that will heal over time. Misinterpretations like this can often contribute to a long delay of three to six months in diagnosing soft tissue tumours, after the patient's initial discovery of a bump or lump.

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Research on Soft Tissue Lumps and Bumps

It is not always required to remove benign tumours or to treat them further. A significant volume of ongoing research studies about treatment methods is done with cancerous tumours. In multicenter clinical trials, novel chemotherapy drugs are being tested and researchers are trying to identify molecular targets for cancerous growths to help in designing the drugs aimed at curing such cancer. Techniques like metabolic imaging PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning is opening new avenues to evaluate tumour response to chemotherapy and to identify the aggressive tumours.

How to Diagnose Soft Tissue Lumps and Bumps ?

Patients coming with soft tissue masses are evaluated post understanding their clinical history. Diagnostic tests might include

  • 1. X-ray
  • 2. Angiogram
  • 3. And scans such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • 4. Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan.
  • 5. Computed Tomography (CT) scan and bone scan.

With this information in hand, the doctor would perform a biopsy on the mass to diagnose its aetiology.

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How to Treat Lumps and Bumps?

When the mass is benign, the surgeon will often remove it immediately, but it may not always require removal. If the mass is malignant, it is mostly treated with surgery, chemotherapy or radiation or a combination of these procedures.

On the diagnosis, a soft tissue mass from the patient’s body are observed or prepared for removal. Depending on the tumour’s location, benign fat tumours that are lipoma, as an example, can be observed regularly under MRI routine every 6 to 12 months, instead of removal. Many patients have lived for decades with slow-growing benign tumours without having them removed immediately. However, in a case of sarcoma with a cancerous growth is diagnosed, doctors recommend prompt treatment involving surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of these.

The surgeon's goal is to remove all of the tumours, for any soft tissue tumour. Surgeons more aggressively remove surrounding tissue, when it has cancerous tumours. However, since doing this may leave a higher soft-tissue defect in the patient’s body, it requires the expertise of a reconstructive surgeon to help the healing of the area cosmetically appealing.

The difficulty of surgery depends upon the proximity of blood vessels, nerves and other vital tissues around the location. Depending on the aetiology of the tumour and it’s the procedure will take more time and need the higher skills of the surgery to remove all of the tumours. Specialists' expertise of the cross-spectrum is required since soft tissue masses could be emerging anywhere in the body. Fundamentally it is required that soft tissue tumour management is done by the same individual surgeon doing the biopsy.

In case the orthopaedic oncologists are involved then they need to perform resections from the body parts such as arms and legs, pelvis, spine and also the chest wall, occasionally, whereas general surgical oncologists would operate in case tumours are oriented in the abdomen or pelvis. In case head and neck tumours are to be removed, otolaryngologists are involved to perform the removal surgery, similarly, neurosurgeons and spinal specialists would assist with spinal surgeries, vascular surgeons in case of reconstruction of an artery.