What Kind of Doctor Should I See for Lipoma Removal?

I have a nearly golf ball-sized lipoma on my back, along my shoulder blade. What kind of doctor should I see for lipoma removal?

Doctor Answers 20

See a plastic surgeon for lipoma removal

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Lipoma is a slow-growing, benign soft-tissue, fatty tumor. It is usually situated between skin and the underlying muscle layer. Lipomas can occur at any age; sometimes they run in the families. People want removal when the see the change in the growth or it becomes painful. In that case, you should seek the help of the experieced plastic surgeon. Physicians should easily diagnose the lipoma just by simply looking at it and feeling the firmness of the lump under the skin. In most cases it can be removed at the doctor's office under the local anesthesia. It takes about the week to recover after the procedure.

Easily done by dermatologists

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These are usually really easy to remove.  Dermatologic surgeons remove these all the time and ought to be able to give you a scar at least as good as any other surgeon who also removes them.  Honestly, as long as you are seeing someone who removes them often and likes removing them, you ought to be fine. 

FWIW-Understanding the skin lines of tension is a pretty elementary subject, something most dermatology residents have mastered before they even start residency training.

It is also worth noting that these can be removed on a completely outpatient basis.  Moreover, unless the lipoma is EXCEEDINGLY large or there is some other complicating factor, there is absolutely no medical need whatsoever for these to be removed in an ASC or a hospital.

Arlo J. Miller, MD, PhD
Issaquah Dermatologic Surgeon

Lipoma surgeons

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  • plastic surgeons
  • general surgeons
  • Dermatologic surgeons

all can do lipoma removals, some have more experience than others in surgical principles such as lines of langerhans, knowledge of surgical instruments and types of sutures.

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Lipoma removal

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A Dermatologic surgeon or plastic surgeon can both be qualified to remove lipomas. You will just need to ensure the surgeon you choose has the expertise and interest in the procedure.

What kind of surgeon should I see to remove a lipoma?

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You want a surgeon who is has lots of experience removing lipomas and who is interested in making the scar as inconspicuous as possible. Plastic surgeons are particularly well qualified due to training in techniques to minimize scarring, although general surgeons, ENTs, dermatologic surgeons, orthopaedic surgeons, and OB/GYNs are also able to perform the procedure safely.

See a plastic surgeon to have your lipoma removed

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General surgeons and plastic surgeons remove most lipomas in Australia. I recommend seeing a plastic surgeon if you are concerned about the appearance of the scar, as plastic surgeons are highly trained and experienced in minimising scars and achieving the best aesthetic results for their patients through a combination of careful scar placement and exacting surgical and wound management techniques.

Jill Tomlinson, MBBS, FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

Dermatologist are the experts for skin and fat under the skin

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Dermatologic surgeons do a lot of skin surgery including removal of lipomas. Plastic surgeons may be an alternative.

Robert Kasten, MD
Mainz Dermatologic Surgeon

Dermatologic surgeon or plastic surgeon for lipoma removal

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Dermatologists are the experts on skin and subcutaneous diseases and surgery, and perform more cutaneous surgery than all other specialties. You would be well served to see one if you're interested in having a lipoma surgically removed. To find a reputable dermatologic surgeon in your community, I'd visit the ASDS website and search by zip code. Plastic surgeons are also usually well versed in the treatment of cutaneous and subcutaneous diseases, and you'd be well served by a reputable plastic surgeon too. What's most important is that you are comfortable with your dermatologic surgeon or plastic surgeon in the preoperative visit, and that you check their credentials (board-certification).

Plastic Surgeon

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Thank you for your question, ccrozer. I suggest you consult with a board certified facial plastic surgeon because we are concerned with removing scars with minimal scarring.

Best wishes,

Ross A. Clevens, MD
Melbourne Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 123 reviews

Who Should I See for Lipoma Removal

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This is a hard question to answer because I remove lipomas using SmartLipo Triplex laser through two 3 mm incisions. I think that most doctors will make a longer incision and remove the lipoma surgically.  If you have a lipoma that requires surgical removal, a board certified plastic surgeon is always an excellent choice because of the attention to doing an excellent closure if you do need to have an incisional procedure.

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.