I was told that there is a laser procedure that can be used to remove a lipoma. Is this true?
Laser for Lipoma Removal?
Doctor Answers (8)
Laser lipoma removal
Why would you want to remove a lipoma with a laser?
A lipoma is an abnormal growth of fatty cells located underneath the skin. It is a very straightforward procedure to remove most lipomas through very small incisions.
A laser is concentrated, ultra hot light that evaporates (and burns) tissues. Using a laser to remove most lipomas would not benefit the patient. Cutting with the laser on the skin would most likely prolong the healing, not speed up healing, as burned edges try to heal against each other.
It is best to remove lipomas completely. Rarely, they may actually be cancerous (liposarcoma) and even benign lipomas can occasionally exhibit invasive features. Methods that reduce the appearance of lipomas visually (i.e. lliposuction or perhaps destruction with a laser) do not remove the abnormal cells, which can then regrow in an abnormal fashion. Revision lipoma removal is more difficult than first time removal because scar tissue now makes more difficult a normally easy dissection.
Lipoma removal via laser?
Liposuction, although an option, is not a great modality due to the recurrence rate as well as not knowing what this mass actually is. Steroids is not an honored treatment for lipomas. Cost will vary upon the examination of the mass, location and complexity of the mass, and will increase if done at a surgery center and use of anesthesia. I do not know of any laser treatment for lipomas. Thank you for your question. Hope that his helps!
No laser for lipoma removal
Unfortunately, there is no laser or noninvasive technique to remove the lipoma. Lasers typically work on the superficial layer of the skin and lipomas are located much deeper. The most effective way to remove a lipoma is through surgical excision. For your best results, it is best to work with a board-certified plastic surgeon can identify the entire extent of the mass remove it completely and close the wound in a fashion that does not have undue tension. This will produce though least conspicuous and optimal scar.
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Laser lipoma removal
Ablative lasers have no role in the management of bengin adipose tumors of the subcutaneous tissue. These nodules should be removed by an experienced surgeon who can identify optimal patterns of incision placement and lipoma removal to reduce scars.
Do Not Recommend
I strongly believe in sending nearly all specimens to the pathologist. Exceptions might be firbro-epithelial polyps and warts, although I sometimes send these off as well. Just yesterday a patient was telling me of a relative who has metastatic melanoma. She eveidently had some growths taken off a year ago, but the specimens were not sent off. Probably, they were nothing but it is always prudent to have the path report sitting in the patient's chart.
Getting back to your situation. Most lipomas are easy to diagnose clinically (by looking at them at the time of surgery) or by the pathologist. However, there is something called a well differentialed liposarcoma. Sometimes these can be fairly benign looking and it takes the good eye of a crack pathologist to make the correct diagnosis. Some well differntiated liposarcomas can look fairly innocuous clinically and might fool an unsuspecting physician. For that reason I feel it is always wise to send the specimen off for examination. Lasers are an obliterative procedure and there is no specimen to send. You might ask, why not have my doctor, biopsy part and destroy the rest with laser ( or liposuction), the problem as I hinted, is that if it is a well differentiated liposarcoma, the physician might have biopsied only the "good" area of the tumor and missed the more serious portion.
Lipomas need to be examined by a pathologist after excision
Basic surgical principles must be followed and all growths even if they have a low suspicion of malignancy as in a lipoma need to be excised and sent for pathologic examination. Otherwise, one cannot be sure if it has cancerous cells (rare, liposarcoma) or if it benign (lipoma).
Pathological diagnosis for Lipoma
The answer to your question is mainly in the concept of pathological diagnosis. If you doctor is sure about the diagnosis of a certain mass or swelling, it does not matter how we remove it. The problem is after removal with lipo or laser, the tissues could not be sent for examination by the microscope. If i'm the patient, I would want to know the final diagnosis for my lesions. Hope that helps!
Listen to Dr. Moelleken
A lipoma is a kind of tumor. It is an abnormal overgrowth of fat cells. Very rarely it can be malignant (liposarcoma). Total removal of the lipoma through an incision over it is the best way to make sure it isn't cancer, make sure it is completely removed, and to make sure it doesn't come back. Lasers have no role in this.
Unfortunately, too many doctors have forgotten this and try to treat a lipoma as just a cosmetic thing and liposuction it away. Under these circumstances, total removal is not possible, pathology cannot be evaluated and recurrence is higher. This would not be the way I would treat it personally.
These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.