Lipoma Removal Overview

A lipoma is the most common noncancerous (benign) soft tissue growth. It is a growth of fat cells usually found just below the skin.  Lipomas are most commonly found on the torso, neck, upper thighs, upper arms, and underarms.

Lipoma pictures

RealSelf community members have posted photos of their lipoma and removal.

Upper back lipoma before removal
Upper back lipoma posted in the review: Lipoma removed from upper back

Scar from Lipoma removed from upper back
Scar after back lipoma removal

3 months after Lipoma removal surgery
Lipoma removal scar, 3 months after surgery

Lipoma causes

Lipomas grow slowly and are thought to occur from trauma, although this is not known for sure. They are characterized as tumors because they are composed of proliferative fat cells that are of the same genetic composition. There are other types of fatty tumors that are cancerous but they differ significantly from lipomas in terms of growth pattern, invasion into adjacent structures, and time line of growth.

Lipomas are diagnosed on examination and by history. The true diagnosis is only made after examination by a pathologist.

The good news about lipomas is that they are generally easily removed as they do not invade other structures. They are generally shelled out with the capsule intact.

Lipomas are more likely in certain people and probably in certain families. However, trying to tell an individual whether or not he or she will develop them is difficult. There isn't any documented way of preventing lipomas.

Lipoma treatment

Since lipomas are noncancerous, they do not require any treatment. However, if a lipoma becomes bothersome, infected, or continues to grow, you may chose to have it removed. Your doctor would simply excise the lipoma by making an incision to the area.

Lipomas are best removed using an incision over the tumor, or perhaps a short distance away in a more hidden area, if possible.

Liposuction has been used in the past, especially for those on the forehead or face, and doctors have used an endoscope to remove lipoma on the face through a hairline incision.

Using liposuction or lipodissolve will not get all of the tumor, and even though most are benign, and the lump could still remain. Absorption of fat damaged by lipodissolve or another form of injection would be unpredictable and most doctors do not recommend this procedure.

The problem with non-surgical removal (including liposuction) is that tissue will be left behind, causing possible cosmetic effects and possible regrowth. In the rare case of liposarcoma (a malignant lipoma) the non-surgical techniques could significantly complicate the problem.

scar left after lipoma removal from arm
Arm lipoma removal, leaving a white scar

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