Leg Lipoma Hurts, Should It Be Removed?

this problem has been going on for about a year.i have already been seen by a surgeon, and he says that it is not necessary, but he is not the one who has to deal with the pain. i want to get it removed but i do not want to be put to sleep. could it be removed while i am awake? meaning could they just numb the area?

Doctor Answers 7

Removal of lipoma

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The removal of lipomas in the leg can be straightforward procedure. The most important point to keep in mind is that surgery in the lower extremities are prone to fluid collections. When discussing your surgery with your surgeon, ask what modalities they will use to prevent the accumulation of fluid, seromas, or hematomas. Your surgeon may recommend that you use tight compressive hose that will allow your skin to adhere to the underlying muscle.

Painful lipoma removal

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In my Los Angeles office, I see a lot of lipomas, a fraction of which are painful. Most lipomas are not symptomatic and I agree with Dr. Placik that the majority of painful lipomas are either angiolipomas or glomus tumors. I would have them surgically removed. In my practice, I use a very small incision overlying the lipoma.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

If lipoma is getting bigger, have it taken out

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If this lipoma is getting bigger, have it taken out. Removing the lipoma will likely make the pain subside, but not always. However, it should be removed in order to determine a pathological diagnosis.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Lipoma removal performed with local anesthesia

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The vast majority of lipomas are removed with local anesthesia.  Rarely, if there is an exceptionally large one, or if it's in a precarious location, sedation may accompany the local anesthesia.

Particularly if it hurts, I would recommend removal.

Darrick E. Antell, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Remove the lipoma

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In my experience, the painful lipomas tend to be diagnosed as angiolipomas. Of course, that is of little relevance to you and has little to do with the treatmnent.

Lipomas are typically removed to establish a definitive diagnosis, minimize discomfort and prevent further growth. Generally, the surgical excision of lipomas in the extremities is relatively straighforward as long as they are not in close proximity to any significant nerves or vessels.

I have frequently performed these under local anesthesia and this should be an option if you can tolerate the injections. Other options include IV sedation or regional blocks. Discuss your fears and concerns with your surgeon.

Another option which is discussed but I don' t recommend is the use of liposuction for treatment of lipomas. It will clearly decrease the size, can be performed under local anesthesia, and uses small limited incisions. However, it never clearly completely removes the tumor and there is a higher risk of recurrence.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Yes, it should be removed

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Any painful abnormal growth should be removed and biposied. If it is small enough, doesn't adhere to the deep tissues or invade into them, and if you are courageous enough, it can be done under local anesthesia. The realatively sooner you do it the easier so it doesn't have a chance to grow ever bigger.


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It would depend on the size of the lipoma. Lipomas, if they are small enough, and located superficial enough can be excised under simple local anesthesia, in an office setting. Larger lipomas can be excised in an out-patient OR setting, again under local with IV sedation. Only large lipomas that might be adhering to muscle or in difficult locaions, need to be done under general anesthesia.

I have personal experience both taking them out in my office and having a large lipoma excised from my shoulder. The procedure on me was done in an outpatient OR only under local and I talked with my surgeon/friend through the whole procedure.

Certainly, if there are symptoms, the lipoma should be taken out since the symptoms will only become more pronounced. I also feel that any soft tissue mass should be at least biopsied and preferably excised.

Good luck.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist

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.