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lipoma of spine
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lipoma of spine

I've recently been informed that I've got a lipoma on my spine, and that it's a type of Spina Bifida.
I'm a 37 y/o male who's in pretty good shape over all.

This was found incidentally.  I had a prostate exam (family history of prostate problems.  I also had many of the symptoms such as frequent urination, interrupted urine stream, difficulty starting urine, not completely emptying bladder) and they ended up scoping my bladder and doing a CT scan.  The CT showed what "looked like" a lipoma on or near my spine. The scope was clear with the exception of "minor calcium deposits".  I've since had an MRI that has confirmed the lipoma.

I recently returned from a follow up appoint with a neurosurgeon who is ordering further tests to try to determine if there is a spinal compression from the lipoma affecting bladder functions. I believe that one of the tests that he's considering is CVP.. I'm not sure of that.. it involves a catheter filling the bladder, then measuring the volume of the discharge when the bladder is voided.

I understand that the surgery (if it's needed) is a pretty complex procedure to remove the lipoma, as the nerves around the spine are numerous, and may be intertwined within the lipoma.  What are some of the risks or problems that I may encounter if surgery is recommended and I choose not to have it? I don't like the idea of messing around with my spine, and fear adverse consequences of the surgery.  I can handle frequent urination or even over active bladder if necessary.

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I cannot answer all your questions, but I know a little bit about lipomas, so I can say a couple things on that part.  Usually lipomas are left alone unless and until they cause symptoms, like if they're at the throat and get big enough to halfway close off the breathing tube.  In your situation, the neurosurgeon needs to know if the lipoma is big enough or in the correct place to be pushing on a nerve, thus causing your bladder symptoms, or if your symptoms are caused by something unrelated to the lipoma.  Me, I'd want to know how close the lipoma is to the bladder, too, because while it can push on a nerve coming out of the spine, it can also perhaps push on the ducts that go out of the bladder, but I really am just presuming on that issue.  

On the operation thing, see, if that lipoma is indeed causing your bladder problems, and since lipomas can get larger and larger (and I mean sometimes it can be visible because it can push out the skin layer), well, could be you might eventually become incontinent, which if you've ever tried wearing those pull-up diapers, it's a tad uncomfortable, or might be you'd have to be catheterized somehow and have the urine go in a bag, AND also could be if urine stays in the bladder too long, it can back up into the kidneys, which you will get sick from toxins building up in kidneys that cannot function.  But I'm most definitely not all that familiar with how the kidneys function.

Maybe someone else here can post about back surgery and how that is likely to go, but I do know that if the neurosurgeon thinks it would be best to get the lipoma out of there, he'll go over the risks concerning spinal nerves and possible injury to those by having the procedure, which you would then weigh that against how things might progress with your bladder.  You did not say you have pain in your back, but if you have that, then that would also be a symptom to weigh against surgery.
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