What Can I Expect From Lipoma Removal From My Rib?

I am a 14 year old female and I have had this for 2 years. It is painful and they said it is probably laying on a nerve. I have an appointment with the surgeon on Sept. 21st and I was wanting to know what to expect and what kind of procedure they would do if I needed surgery.

Doctor Answers 2

What to expect with a lipoma on the rib

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When you see the surgeon, he/she will talk with you about how long the lipoma has been there, has it been changing, have you had any others, what symptoms you experience, as well as reviewing your general medical and surgical history.  An exam will be done and the lipoma may be measured.  If there are concerns about it's depth, size, location or some characteristic which the doctor should explain, some type of imaging study may be ordered.  If no imaging is felt to be needed, they may just describe/plan a surgical procedure for removal.  In most cases, removal is not done in the office and it is not done the same day.  If the lipoma is not bothersome, it may be reasonable to leave it alone.

Council Bluffs General Surgeon

What Can I Expect From Lipoma Removal From My Rib?

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I assume you mean that you have a l lipoma overlying your rib, not in, between or under your rib. That said, you have a movable, soft subcutaneous mass that is uncomfortable.

My general approach to lipomas on the trunk is to anesthetize the skin around them and then infiltrate some tumescent fluid anesthetic around them, that acts as a heat sink for the heat generated by the laser.

I then make a small incision, about 3/8", and soften and melt the lipoma with the Cynosure Smartlipo Triplex 1440 nm wavelength laser. The laser is computer controlled and the cut-off temperature is set to turn the laser off if exceeds 48 degrees C.

After feeling the lipoma soften and disappear to touch and observation, I insert a small alligator clamp to manipulate and feel any remaining fibrous remnants, which I extract. I continue until I am as sure as I can be that no lipoma remains. In larger lipomas I may also use a fine liposuction cannula to evacuate any remnants that I cannot feel or palpate with the alligator clamp.

Usually no drains are used, but for a larger lipoma, like some on the back, I will put in a seroma cath until the first post-op visit. Incisions are closed with one or two stitches.

If multiple lipomas are close to each other, I will remove all of them through the same small incision.

Since this technology is not used by many doctors, your surgeon may make an incision over the lipoma of the length felt necessary and remove it by direct dissection.

With any lipoma removal, the patient needs to be informed, that there is a small chance of recurrence.

Giant lipomas, 10 cm or more, should be biopsied and the diagnosis established that they are benign before proceeding with removal.

Robert M. Lowen, MD
Mountain View Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 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.