What are lumps and bumps?
Lumps and bumps are common in children. They are palpable nodules that can develop everywhere on the body surface, and they are on your child's skin or just below it. In the majority of the cases, they are harmless, and some of them may disappear spontaneously. However, a review done by an expert children's surgeon like Mr Giuliani is recommended for every palpable or visible lump. This is important to make an accurate diagnosis and to decide which bumps require further investigation and possible surgical removal.
There are some ways in which you can see that lumps and bumps are not a reason to worry. If the lump has been caused by a trauma or an activity which has caused your child to be injured, then there is usually no reason for concern as it should disappear in a couple of weeks. Many children will pick up lumps and bumps during physical activity or contact sports, as well as in the course of everyday life. A cause of concern is a lump growing rapidly or not disappearing within two weeks.
What are the causes of lumps and bumps?
Other than from injury, lumps and bumps have a number of other potential causes, including; cysts, such as dermoid cysts, which are simple cysts under the skin; lipomas, which are rounded lumps made by fat tissue; vascular lumps, which are a bundle of vessels under the skin, and the most common one is called infantile haemangioma.
What are the symptoms of lumps and bumps?
In general, lumps and bumps can be regarded as not serious if they are soft, easily mobile under the skin, and they are not growing fast. It is possible for a lump under the skin to become infected, and this can cause pain, redness and smelly yellow discharge from the skin.
The most important thing to monitor is the rate of growth as lumps that are actively growing can hide a sinister cause and should be reviewed by an expert paediatric surgeon as soon as possible. In particular, if the lump is growing above one centimetre in size, it is indicated to bring your child to be examined by a doctor.
Treatment options for lumps and bumps
Superficial lumps and bumps, which are caused by injury typically subside on their own as the swelling goes down. Ice treatment, applying a pack of ice intermittently for 15 to 20 minute periods, and elevating the affected area, can serve to reduce pain and decrease inflammation.
Whenever there are signs of an infection (i.e. redness, swelling, tenderness), antibiotics may be needed, and you should see a doctor to confirm the diagnosis and obtain a prescription.
Most of the persistent lumps and bumps with a size above one centimetre in diameter may need to be removed to avoid them to grow bigger and to confirm their nature.
The surgical removal of a lump in a child is usually straightforward, but it requires general anaesthesia. The surgery is performed as a day case, and the wound usually heals well in a few weeks. The lump is always sent to the pathology department to confirm the diagnosis based on the cells involved.
Cosmetic surgery techniques are always used in children's surgery to make sure that the quality of the scar is excellent and to minimise the long term impact of the procedure on your baby or child.
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