Q. My armpits are asymmetrical, and there are movable lumps in the larger armpit. Why?

Answered by
Dr. Basuki Nath Bhagat
and medically reviewed by Dr. Sushrutha Muralidharan
This is a premium question & answer published on Aug 21, 2021

Hi doctor,

I am a 26-year-old female of height 5’3” and 114 lbs. I had a cyst in my armpit about 12 years ago, now that armpit is a lot larger than the other and seems to have some swollen lump on it for a couple of weeks now. I can grab onto the lump, and it feels like fatty tissue. It moves around and is about 2+ inches in diameter. It is sore occasionally or stings, but the pain is not bad. This may be unrelated, but my breast on the same side suddenly had a lot of pain about a year ago, and the skin turned red. You could see lines or veins coming up from my nipple like tree branches. It lasted for a few days and was very painful. I am attaching the picture. Kindly help me.



Welcome to

I saw the picture attached (attachment removed to protect the patient's identity). There is a very clear asymmetry in the armpit region. There is a slight elevation in the left armpit. As per the history which you have mentioned, it is more noticeable to you since a couple of weeks.

There are many causes of armpit swelling or lump:

1) Infections cause swollen lymph nodes.

2) Lipoma.

3) Allergic reactions.

4) Lymphoma of lymph nodes.

These causes are ruled out by careful medical history, present complaint, and other associated findings on physical examination done by the examining doctor.

You mention that you can grab the lump, and it feels like fatty tissue. It points toward lipoma. Lipoma is the benign growth of the fatty tissue and is rarely harmful. On local examination, the lipoma is soft, usually non-tender, and freely movable.

Do you have or had any recent bacterial or viral illness? Any allergic reaction to the COVID vaccine? It is a side effect associated with it but usually subsides around ten days.

Its relation with the breast complaint around one year back might be unrelated. Based on the picture and history which you have provided hints toward lipoma. If it is a lipoma, do not worry.

I would suggest visiting a local doctor. Doctor will ask for relevant medical history, physical examination of the left arm to come to the diagnosis.

If needed, USG (ultrasonography) or biopsy can be done to confirm or rule out any other pathology.

I hope this was helpful. Please follow up if you have any further queries.

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