What’s a lipoma?

A lipoma is a soft lump made of fat cells and grows in the tissue beneath the skin. It appears mainly in adults between the ages of 40 to 60 on areas like the head, the neck, the shoulders, the arms and the thighs. They are usually benign tumors that don’t cause any pain unless they press against a nerve and their removal is not necessary for medical reasons. However if a lipoma bothers you for cosmetic or functional reasons it can be surgically removed.

Who’s a good candidate?

Surgery to remove a lipoma concerns any adult, healthy patient that wants to get rid of a lipoma because of cosmetic or functional reasons. Lipomas grow often in visible areas of the face and the body being an issue for patients that wish to improve their appearance. Moreover, a lipoma may be painful if pressing against a nerve and therefore must be removed. Lastly, lipomas keep growing over the years so a lipoma that was initially small and painless may gradually become bigger getting in the way of everyday activities, like getting dressed, and causing a cosmetic problem for patients, who decide to remove it.

Facts I need to know

The doctor chooses the appropriate removal method depending on the size, the shape and the nature of a lipoma as well as patients medical history. A lipoma can be removed with liposuction – it is after all a growth of fat cells- or with steroid injections. These methods significantly reduce the size of the lipoma but don’t remove it completely. The most effective removal technique is surgery which is simple, safe and quick, performed under local anesthesia. The doctor will probably ask to have the lipoma checked with biopsy to rule out any suspicion for cancer but usually lipomas are benign tumors. The incision made during the surgery is small and doesn’t leave any scars.

Recovery Time

The surgery to remove lipomas is an outpatient procedure and patients return home on the same day. They initially notice some redness and mild swelling on the are treated but symptoms subside quickly and allow patients to immediately return to their work and every day activities. In any case they must not put any pressure on the area treated. Results are permanent but lipomas may appear again, but this time on different areas.

Doctor’s Remarks

Lipomas are usually removed surgically. It’s best not to let them grow because the bigger the lipoma the bigger the scars after a surgical removal. Trust a plastic surgeion to remove your lipoma, perform the sutures and restore your skin after the removal. A plastic surgeon is the most capable and expert doctor trained and experienced to treat all benign or cancerous skin lesions. A lipoma removal is a routine surgery that requires a different procedure depending on the size of the lipoma. In some cases, liposuction may be the best option.