Do I Have to Get Lipomas Surgically Removed?

I have three lipomas and I am debating what to do about them.  Do I have to have them removed?  Is there any danger if I decide not to have the lipoma removal procedure?  Are there any alternatives to surgery that will get rid of my lipomas? Thanks

Doctor Answers 13

Lipomas are generally benign (non-cancerous) lesions....

Lipomas are generally benign (non-cancerous) lesions. They will generally continue to grow over time and only need to be removed if they become bothersome, infected, or the patient desires removal. Removal generally required a small incision over the lipoma and removal of the lesion. In some cases, a very small incision is made over the lipoma and it can be expressed out, much like a pimple.

Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon
3.9 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Do I have to get lipomas surgically removed?

Hello!  Lipomas are benign fatty tumors.  They are best served being surgically excised, but do not necessarily need to be removed if that is what they truly are.  This will significantly reduce the possibility that it will return.  Depending on the size and location, they may be removed under simple local anesthesia and possibly in the office.  I would discuss the options with a plastic surgeon who can examine you and discuss the options and procedure.  Almost routinely they are outpatient procedures.  There are other things that this soft tissue mass may be and it is wisest to have it examined prior to consideration for any surgical excision.

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.  Thank you for your question.  Hope that his helps!

Lewis Albert Andres, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Up to you

I counsel patients with small lipomas that it is perfectly reasonable to just watch them over time.  If they are small right now and don't bother you now, they may stay small and never bother you. Unfortunately, you don't know if they will get bigger until they get bigger.  Finally, the smaller the lipoma is, the smaller the scar will be from removal.  So, its a pretty good example of a Catch-22.

Arlo J. Miller, MD, PhD
Issaquah Dermatologic Surgeon

Lipoma removal with ThermiRF

Lipoma removal is usually performed with surgical removal. Surgical removal of lipoma may create unsightly scar for the patient, especially on ethnic skin. Some physicians are now using ThermiRF, a Radiofrequency (RF) energy device to heat lipoma. These physicians report lipoma removal or reduction using ThermiRF. ThermiRF lipoma removal treatment is considered “off label”. This may be an alternative. Consult with your doctor to see if ThermiRF can help you.

Stanley Okoro, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 161 reviews

What to do about lipomas

Hi Anon,

You don't have to have lipomas removed. They're not cancerous or dangerous. If the lipomas bother you it is usually relatively simple to have them surgically removed. There are no alternatives to surgery to remove the lipomas.

If there is any doubt about the diagnosis or if the lipomas become painful or rapidly increases in size please seek medical advice to confirm that your lumps are truly lipomas.

Good luck with your decision!

Jill Tomlinson, MBBS, FRACS
Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

Lipoma removal options

Lipomas are benign growths that can be left alone as they do not have cancer potential. They may stay the same size or sometimes grow a little. They are typically cut out by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, although liposuction can also work on larger lipomas. It is important to have the diagnosis verified by your physician to make sure it is nothing more serious than a lipoma.

Benjamin Barankin, MD, FRCPC
Toronto Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

All concerning lumps should be evaluated by your surgeon

Lipomas are benign fatty tumors and usually to not require removal. Many people have them removed for aesthetic reasons. Others have them removed because of fear that the lipoma may in fact be something more serious. There are other tumors that can masquerade as lipomas, so if you are concerned you should have your surgeon evaluate it under a direct exam.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

No need to remove lipomas

You don't need to remove lipomas unless they are a cosmetic problem. Since they do tend to grow a little over time what I tell patients is the sooner you get the out the smaller the scar will be. If they are small they can be done in the office under local anesthesia.

Patricia Farris, MD
Metairie Dermatologic Surgeon

Lipomas, lumps, and options


All soft lumps are not lipomas and lipomas can grow to a large size and become deforming. You need professional evaluation and advice to figure whether or not your particular issue should be managed by surgery or observation.

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Surgical management of Lipomas

Lipomas are diagnosed based on clinical examination or diagnostic studies. You should always seek the advice of an experienced surgeon who will identify whether the lump is clinically suspicious for malignancy or whether it appears, by history and exam, to be consistent with a benign lipoma.

If it is a lipoma, it rarely will improve with time. Delay in treatment only makes it more difficult as the lesion increases in size and becomes more intimately involved with adjacent structures.

Most experienced plastic surgeons will remove lipomas with small, well hidden, and discretely placed scars.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 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.