Fat necrosis is one of the most common health concerns among women who have gone through breast surgery or any kind of medical therapy is applied to the breast for its treatment. It develops in the noncancerous form in most of the cases which can be relieved completely through the treatment of fat necrosis.
It develops in the form of lumps which is discovered by the affected women by her own in most of the cases. However, in some cases women couldn’t detect it then it requires proper screening or mammogram to diagnose it clearly.
Fat necrosis is a collection of dead or damaged tissue inside the breast of a woman which can happen due to any reason. Primarily the tissue damages after application of radiation therapy, surgery and any kind of trauma to this particular portion.
In general fat necrosis doesn’t cause any kind of pain and it is completely harmless but yes, it can cause anxiety and stress to the affected woman. So it is better to consult with a doctor if you are discovering a lump inside your breast as only after proper testing they can detect whether the lump is cancerous or non-cancerous.
What is Fat Necrosis of Breast ?
Table of Contents
Fat Necrosis is a non-cancerous health condition which can develop anywhere in the breast of the women at any age. In some cases, men are also found as a victim of this health concern but it’s very rare.
The breast of a woman is made up of glands for producing milk and tube that carries milk to the nipple. Glad and tube both of them remains surrounded by fatty tissues, fibrous and glandular. A lump created when any of these tissues get damaged because of any reason and in medical terms this tissue damaging is called as fat necrosis.
The tissue inside the breast damages when a breast reduction, reconstruction, and lipomodelling are done through the surgery, biopsy, and radiotherapy. Apart from these conditions, a tissue-damaging is possible due to an injury or trauma in the breast.
It feels like circular and firm lump which usually remains painless but in certain cases, it develops tenderness and painful too. Also, it can cause pulled in nipple which looks unusual than the normal nipple appearance. The skin surrounding the lump may look bruised, red and dimpled one.
Symptoms of Breast Fat Necrosis
Fat necrosis may cause you pain but it is not common. So to recognize this health condition you can consider the following signs or symptoms to start its diagnosis process to avoid the surgical process which is the last and critical treatment option.
- The surrounding skin of lump appears thicker than the unaffected skin area.
- Retraction in nipple happens due to lumps inside the breast.
- Enhancement of the size of the breast which is affected by fat necrosis.
- Tenderness in the breast.
- Pain in the affected breast (Not very common).
- Bruised appearance surrounding the lumps.
- The surrounding area of lump gets reddish.
A lump in breast happens due to damaging of a tissue that causes a secretion of inflammatory compounds resulting in bruised or red appearance. Though fat necrosis is primarily associated with the breast on the medical term it can be possible in any other body part where fat tissue exists such as buttocks, thighs, abdomen etc.
Causes of Breast Fat Necrosis
As per the doctors following causes or reasons are considered responsible for developing fat necrosis.
- When a breast implantation is happening for resizing it or for its modification the chances exist that it can develop fat necrosis in future.
- If surgery is conducted on any body part where fat tissue exists in that particular area, a lump may develop in the future when fat cells die and release the oil contents. It is also known as an oil cyst.
- Fat necrosis may develop if a radiation therapy is applied under any treatment process that mostly results in cells damaging which in future takes the form of lumps.
- A physical trauma or accident that affects the breast area carries a very high risk of growing and developing an oil cyst or lump in the future.
- Obese women with big breast size are highly considered as the victim of fat necrosis
How Breast Fat Necrosis Is Diagnosed
Whosoever suspect for the existence of lump in their breast, they must consult with the doctor to confirm whether the lump is cancerous or non-cancerous. At first, a doctor will conduct your physical examination for confirming the existence of fat necrosis or oil cyst.
Also, they will ask for your previous health history in order to go in the depth or detecting an underlying reason of lump. Those who have met through any physical trauma even in their past are highly suspected to develop this health condition. Apart from that if radiation therapy is applied to any body part then it mostly burns the underlying tissues which in further turns in to lumps.
An imaging test is the most common diagnosis option that a doctor prescribes to assure the existence of lumps and its criticality. Below mentioned imaging scan is generally some most reliable test that helps to diagnose the fat necrosis.
In order to visualize the location of fat necrosis x-ray is considered as the first recommendations by the doctors. If the lump or oil cyst has the distinctive appearance then it can easily be detected by the mammography imaging test.
Otherwise, if fat necrosis develops with some different symptoms such as scarring or any other kind of appearance that is different from usual then other types of imaging tests are necessary to confirm the real cause of the lump.
Ultrasound is a more advanced technology than the x-rays in which sound waves are used to re-create even a minor tissue damaging on a screen. Lump or cysts that do not exist in the solid form rather these are mix up of solid plus oily contents can be detected easily through the ultrasound imaging test.
MRI or Magnetic Resonance Imaging is most effective imaging medical technology in which radio waves and magnetic fields are used to produce the minute and detailed images of very smaller tissues as well as bones.
If your doctor thinks that your fat necrosis is very internal and different than usual lump appearance then they will recommend for MRI imaging test to diagnose your FN. This test ensures clearly whether your fat necrosis is cancerous or non-cancerous.
When a doctor suspects your fat necrosis as cancerous they recommend for biopsy test in order to confirm it. Under biopsy, one small tissue will be taken from your body or area which is affected as a sample. The sample cells are sent to the laboratory for checking the existence of cancer.
As per the criticality of your cyst and your past medical history, a doctor may recommend any of the above-mentioned imaging tests to diagnose the real cause of the lump. The doctor may either prescribe for a single imaging test or may recommend for the combination of all these tests depending upon individual health condition.
Treatment of Breast Fat Necrosis
Fat necrosis treatment procedure depends on different factors such as its intensity, duration and pain severity. The doctor will prescribe a medication depending on your lump type and even if it is possible that you won’t need any medication and just by massaging it goes off with time.
However, if the lump doesn’t cure by massaging and accompanied by firmness, pain, and tenderness then you will be prescribed for the particular medication as per your special case type.
Initially, medication is prescribed by the doctors for diluting and removing the lump but when it doesn’t get removed completely by medications then in severe condition surgery is considered as the last option to remove fat necrosis completely. Some common treatment processes for fat necrosis is mentioned below.
Needle Aspiration or Lumpectomy
In the cases where the size of fat necrosis are large and causing discomfort consistently under that situation, doctors will not suggest waiting for its automatically disappearance with time. So in such conditions, the needle aspiration treatment option is provided to the patient.
In this process, a thinner and hollow needle is inserted inside the fat necrosis which drains out the oily content and makes it clear. It helps in removing the lump completely.
Warm Compress and Massaging
Fat necrosis existence and growth chances exist primarily in women who have recently have a breast surgery or any kind of injury in the breast are happened. So after such traumas in the breast if suddenly you are feeling a lump inside your breast then you can use warm compresses on it as it will dissolve the lump with regular care and usage of compresses.
Apart from compressor massaging is another effective way to treat a fat necrosis in its very initial stage. Massaging on the lump area will reduce the stiffness of lump and will help to make it normal just like the surrounding area.
Warm compresses and massaging simultaneously heal the fat necrosis but it is always recommended to consult with a doctor to assure that the lump is fully resolved to prevent the recurrence of fat necrosis and its symptoms in future.
Under the condition a fat necrosis is intense and it exists in a deeper place that cannot be removed completely by the needle aspiration treatment option then it has to be removed by the surgical process so that the patient’s condition will not get worst.
Preventive Tips of Fat Necrosis
Fat necrosis is usually a non-cancerous health condition but yes in some cases the condition get worse and needed immediate surgical treatment to relieve the condition of the patient completely. So to avoid such condition it’s better that you use preventive measures in your daily lifestyle. Some effective preventive tips of fat necrosis are mentioned below.
Proactively Consult with Doctor after Breast Trauma
If you come across any kind of trauma in breast and after that observing few of the symptoms of fat necrosis then without further delay visit a doctor for screening and imaging diagnose processes.
Not all breast traumas can cause lump inside your breast but for the safer side and as a prudent preventive measure it’s better to consult with the doctor to avoid chances of developing Fat Necrosis in future.
Don’t Ignore a Lump in Breast
Not all lumps inside the breast are fat necrosis but it is always best to use the preventive measures to avoid the future cure. Don’t wait that your lump will dissolve of its own instead diagnose it immediately as it might be cancer too that can be detected in its initial stage and you can save yourself from its devastated future effects.
Stay Aware of Fat Necrosis Symptoms
Women are the primary victims of fat necrosis whereas men face this health trauma in very rare condition. So it is quite essential that each and every woman stay aware of different symptoms of fat necrosis.
Early stage recognition of its symptoms such as tenderness in the breast, unusual increase in the breast size, reddish color appearance surrounding the lump area on the breast, pain and swollen etc. can save you from its long-term severe effect.
It is essential to keep your body’s metabolic rate in good condition by exercising every day as most of the lumps develop due to blockage inside the breast which occurs due to a sedentary lifestyle that leads to metabolic disorder.
This concern can be prevented by keeping your body active as much as it is possible so that your metabolic rate will remain in good condition and even if damage happens in the breast tissue it can get recovered and healed by its own.
Visit a Doctor on Fixed Interval
Whether you have met through any trauma or not it is always advisable to visit a doctor on a fixed interval to keep your overall health in good condition. A regular doctor visit will prevent the occurrence of any severe health condition like an enlarged form of fat necrosis that requires surgical treatment to be healed completely.
In the end, we must say that fat necrosis is not a dangerous health concern in general as mostly it is found in non-cancerous form, however, for protecting your health from any critical unwanted condition it is essential to confirm it by consulting a doctor on time. A proper treatment of fat necrosis can prevent its recurrence in the future and ensures your healthy living.