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Lipoma at the back of the ear. Is this the reason for my head ache and neck pain?

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Neurologist, Surgical
Practicing since : 1997
Answered : 65 Questions
Hi, I was just diagnosed with a lipoma at the base of my skull behind the right ear. It's about 3 cm in circumference and fairly flat. Is it possible that in may have been causing neck pain (which I often have in the morning) and also headaches when coughing/laughing? I am 54 and otherwise in perfect health.

Posted Wed, 25 Apr 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shivakumar S. Kupanur 15 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

Lipoma is benign disease. It usually is asymptomatic. But sometimes can cause neck pain due to possible mechanical obstruction. Headache could be due to stretching of nerves in involved area.

I presume this lesion is present since quite a long time. I would like to know whether lipoma is diagnosed clinically by examination or by radiological investigations. If investigations are not done, I would suggest you to get MRI neck done under the guidance of Neurosurgeon.

Treatment would be surgical excision. Diagnosis can be confirmed by tissue histopathology.

I hope, I have answered your query. Please accept my answer in case you have no follow up queries.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Lipoma at the back of the ear. Is this the reason for my head ache and neck pain? 1 hour later
Thank you so much. The lipoma was diagnosed after a recent ultrasound exam. Should I still proceed with MRI to see if there is any impingement? If there is, in general, how risky is surgical excision in that location (base of skull)?

I appreciate your response.

Answered by Dr. Shivakumar S. Kupanur 23 hours later
Hello again.

Ideally, it is better to get MRI done to know the extent and relation with adjacent structures. It will also help us know if there is any other factors that is responsible for the neck pain.

Usually, Lipoma is well encapsulated, can be excised safely from base of skull. MRI will give more detailed idea about it.

I hope, I have cleared all your doubts. If you have no further queries, let me know by closing this discussion.

Wish you good health.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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