Atheromas and fatty tissue


Atheroma is a benign skin and sub dermal tissue growth which occurs by increased sweating of the sebaceous gland and forming of a capsule around the mentioned fatty content. Atheromas are placed in the last layer of the skin – dermis, and their other name is a dermal cyst.

atheroma fatty tissue

Atheromas are most frequent on the face, neck, behind the ears and on the back, and can appear on any other body part. Atheromas are of different sizes, from 5 mm up to a few centimeters, soft to a touch. Atheromas are not painful except if there is an inflammation. At the site of inflammation there is an abrupt growth of the atheroma and occurrence of redness similar to a pimple, the change is very painful at that time.

Sometimes it is possible to squeeze out the content of an atheroma, however a capsule in which it is contained enables a new gathering of the content. Squeezing out these changes in the skin is never recommended because it can provoke an inflammation by compromising the circulation. The content of the atheroma itself has a very unpleasant smell.

Atheromas should be removed timely.

If a change is smaller (up to 7 mm) it is possible to remove it by radio waves with complete removal of the capsule. In these situations stitching is not necessary and there is a scab in the place of intervention. Changes of 10 mm in diameter or larger need to be removed surgically. The patient receives a local anesthesia, and the intervention is painless and easy. It lasts about 15 minutes. If removal is done when the change is not inflamed, there is almost no scarring in the place of intervention.

Atheromas are often wrongly called fatty tissues although fatty tissue (lipoma) is a change of a different nature.

Fatty tissue or a lipoma

Lipomas are fatty cells organized in one place under the skin, while an atheroma is a fatty content in a fibrous capsule. Lipomas are circular and painless as atheromas, but are somewhat firmer to the touch. Lipomas don’t need to be removed except for esthetic reason.

More about possible ways to remove these lesions on the skin you can read here.

Spec. Dr. Svetlana Djurisic, dermatologist