The key difference between cyst and lipoma is that cyst is a lump filled with fluid or other substance (typically oily or cheese-56like substance) that is most often found on the head or neck, while lipoma is a lump filled with fats that is most often found on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks, and thighs.
There are many different kinds of lumps that can form on the skin. Cyst, lipoma, and abscesses are typical examples of lumps that are forming on the skin. Cyst and lipoma are common and normally benign collections of cells found on different parts of the body. They are treatable. Usually, they can be removed by a skilled dermatologist.
What is a Cyst?
A cyst is a lump filled with fluid or another substance (oily or cheese-like substance) and is most often found on the head or neck. Cysts vary in size from small to large. A very large cyst can even sometimes displace internal organs. The majority of them are benign. But some cysts can be cancerous or precancerous. A cyst has a distinct membrane. This membrane is separated from the nearby tissue. The outer capsular portion of the cyst is the cyst wall. If the cyst is filled with pus, it gets infected. Then the cyst turns to an abscess.
There are many causes for a cyst, such as infection, clogged sebaceous glands, piercings, tumours, genetic conditions, a defect in the cells, chronic inflammatory conditions, a parasite, blockages of ducts in the body, etc. The typical sign of a cyst is an abnormal lump. But internal cysts having different symptoms like brain cysts can cause headaches, and breast cysts can cause pain. Some of the most common types of cysts include acne cyst, arachnoid cyst, Baker’s cyst, breast cyst, colloid cyst, dermoid cyst, epididymal cyst, and ganglion cyst.
Moreover, the treatments for cyst include draining of cyst, injecting medicine into the cyst to reduce swelling, removing it by minor surgery, or laser removal.
What is a Lipoma?
Lipoma is a lump filled with fats often found on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks, and thighs. Lipoma occurs due to an overgrowth of fat cells. Lipoma is very soft and may move slightly under the skin when pressed down on them. Lipoma grows slowly over a period of months or years. Typically, it grows up to 2 to 3 cm. But occasionally, a lipoma can grow up to more than 10 cm.
The cause of lipoma is not known fully. Some people inherit faulty genes from their parents. Therefore, they inherit a condition that is called familial multiple lipomatosis. Lipoma may also arise in people with conditions such as Gardner’s syndrome, Cowden syndrome, Madelung’s disease, adiposis dolorosa. The sign of lipoma is an oval-shaped lump. A person with lipoma near the bowel can have symptoms like nausea, vomiting, constipation. Furthermore, lipoma treatments include surgical removal and liposuction.
What are the Similarities Between Cyst and Lipoma?
- Cyst and lipoma are both types of lumps on the skin.
- Both are growing slowly.
- Both are normally benign.
- Both are treatable.
What is the Difference Between Cyst and Lipoma?
Cyst is a lump filled with fluid or other substance (oily or cheese-like substance) and is most often found on the head or neck, while lipoma is a lump filled with fats and is most often found on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks, and thighs. So, this is the key difference between cyst and lipoma. Furthermore, a cyst is usually small in size, while a lipoma is usually large in size.
The following infographic tabulates the differences between cyst and lipoma.
Summary – Cyst vs Lipoma
There are wide varieties of lumps people may experience under their skin. Many of these are benign. Cyst and lipoma are common and normally benign lumps on the skin. Cyst is a lump filled with fluid that is normally found on the head or neck while lipoma is a lump filled with fats that is normally found on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, back, buttocks, and thighs. Thus, this is the key difference between cyst and lipoma.
1. “Inflamed epidermal inclusion cyst” By Steven Fruitsmaak – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Superficial subcutaneous lipoma” By Jmarchn – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia