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Baby has a bump on skin. Could be an inflammed sebaceous gland or lipoma. Shall i do biopsy?

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Practicing since : 1997
Answered : 379 Questions
Hello, we recently noticed a small bump 3/4 of the way up on the skin and over the spine of our four week old baby. We don't think it was there before and it was not discovered at his first examine with the pediatrician. By all accounts are baby was born completely health as was our first child. The bump is clearly under the skin and from my limited experience almost feels like a vertebrae is out of alighnment but I don't think that's the issue. Any thoughts? An ultra sound gave one doctor the idea that it was an inflammed sebaceous gland and then a dermatologist specialist thought it might be lipoma. Don't really know what any of that means or what we should do about it. I'm not too keen on the idea of performing a biopsy on my newborn, but I'll do whatever it takes. How concerned should we be and is there any hope if it going away on its own? Any help would be most appreciated. Thank you.
Posted Mon, 23 Apr 2012 in Child Health
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 1 hour later
Hi Elderzman,

Thank you for posting your query.

I understand your concern.

To be able to help you better I would like to know a few more details about the lump you have describe.

I want you to see if the lump is painful and mobile side to side.
If painful, surely may need antibiotics or a needle drain or other prcedure.
If painless and mobile side to side, its likely to be what you described, both of which dont need urgent therapy. sebaceous cyst is unlikely at 4 week age.
If it is nonmobile side to side, its likely to eb bone ro stuck to bone or vertebra, when it may be called gibbus and may need at least a xray to confirm the diagnosis.

Do write back with the reports. If the lump is little larger, an ultrasound will solve the mystery.

Awaiting your reply.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Baby has a bump on skin. Could be an inflammed sebaceous gland or lipoma. Shall i do biopsy? 2 hours later
The bump is not painful and can be moved slightly side to side. The entire bump area is probably the size of a quarter. As I mentioned previously we already had an ultrasound and they determined that it was not attached to the spine. There is no discoloration. The baby had a neurological exam a week ago before we discovered the bump and everything was fine. It seems that this is all very uncommon because the doctors we have seen don't know what to do other than to do a biopsy. I would like to think that this is not the fist case of such a bump found on a newborn, but maybe I'm wrong. I'd like to avoid a biopsy if possible and wonder if it would go away on its own. What would you recommend the next steps be? The baby is nursing and growing just fine. His temperament has not changed and is fine.
Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 18 hours later
Hello again.

Thank you for the clarification.

I agree with you. this is not an uncommon thing. It is harmless unless painful and fixed. It is definitely not likely to go away or grow.

Curiosity on part of safety will need biopsy or removal by surgery. As its not an emergency, it is totally a wish of parents to do something or nothing in such situations, both are safe in current situation.

Hope I have answered all your concerns. You are most welcome to write back if you have any doubts. I would be more than happy to help you.

Please accept the answer if you do not have any further queries.

Wishing your baby good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Baby has a bump on skin. Could be an inflammed sebaceous gland or lipoma. Shall i do biopsy? 58 minutes later
Okay thank you. In my first question I mentioned that one doctor from the ultra sound said it was an e inflammed sebaceous gland but the dermatologist though it was a lipoma. Can you explain the difference between an inflammed sebaceous gland and a lipoma for me? Are these two the same thing or are they different and how so? And to clarify you believe it to be which of these?

Answered by Dr. Santosh Kondekar 23 hours later
Hello again,

Thank you for writing back.

Yes there is a difference. Both doctors have expressed their individual opinion.

Sebaceous gland is a gland in the skin that secretes sebum or sweat, if its' opening is blocked it gets bigger and firmer with little softness inside. Sebaceous glands may get painful and infected.

Lipomas usually do not get infected, and they are made up of fat. sebaceous gland has a small dimple over skin but lipomas generally do not have this dimple.

Whatever name we may give, if it is painless and mobile, therapy would be same.

I'm really sorry to say this, it is impossible to suggest any particular diagnosis without a physical examination. So without having the luxury of examining your baby I can simply not be opinionated.

Hope I have answered your query. Do write back to me if you have any doubts.

Wishing you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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