Is There Any Danger of Cutting a Nerve when Doing a Lipoma Removal?

I have a large lipoma on my upper back next to the spine. I am afraid a surgical removal can leave my arm paralyzed.

Doctor Answers 2

Cutting nerves during lipoma removal

Any procedure that involves cutting can cut nerves. Fortunately the area you describe is unlikely to have significant nerves that would be at risk. A better way to deal with large lipomas is to remove (or de-bulk them) with liposuction which will not put nerves at risk just as it doesn't for body contouring liposuction. 

Liposuction for large lipomas through a very small incision may not remove all the lipoma fat and is generally done to de-bulk the lipoma so it doesn't cause problems or deformity without big scars and risks to nerves and other tissues. This requires that the fat deposit is proved to be a lipoma and not some other type of connective tissue tumor. An incompletely removed lipoma is not a threat but other types of tumors would be. 

Boulder Plastic Surgeon
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Lipoma removal on back will not hurt nerves that move your arm

Most lipomas on the back are not located close to the nerves that move the arms. The lipoma originates on or between some of the muscles on the back.  It would be highly unlikely to injure the nerves to any of the adjacent muscles on the back.  The most likely nerve problem would be a sensory nerve of the surrounding skin.  If you have a qualified surgeon you should have the best chance of a good result. 

Best Wishes

Dr. Peterson

Marcus L. Peterson, MD
Saint George Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

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.