Any Risk of Nerve Damage with Lipoma Removal Near Spine?

I have a lipoma located on the left side of my mid back, the edge of it just touches my spine. It is between 2.5 -3 inches in diameter and is relatively flat (about 0.5 inch in thickness). Is there any risk of nerve damage if I have it removed? Can you recommend any good doctors in New York City that can handle these types of operations safely?

Doctor Answers 5

Spine mass

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any mass or soft tissue tumor located near the spine must be proven not to be a meningomyelocele or an AVM prior to surgical excision.  Most are very easily detected on physical exam. if unsure a mri or ct can be order. An Mri would show you better resolution but a ct would show you grossly whether the tumor involves the spine or not.

Risk of nerve damage from lipoma removal

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A lipoma is a superficial collection of normal fat cells which are growing too fast, thus creating a lump.  Removing a lipoma will damage the nerves in the skin next to it, and you will have skin numbness for a few months.

I agree, however, with the other surgeons, the importance of making sure this is a lipoma.  A lipoma is superficial and easily mobile.  If there is ANY suspicion, an MRI is required to evaluate the mass.

Best of luck.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon

No risk of nerve damage for lipoma removal.

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If it is really a lipoma, removing it is simple and safe.  But as the other doctors say, you really need to be sure it isn't a more complicated problem.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

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Management of a Tumor (?Lipoma) close to Spine

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I agree with Dr. Placik. Whenever we have tumors close to the midline, be it the spine, or the face, a surgeon needs to be very careful to determine the identity of the tumor he is operating on. Some could be extensions of the spinal cord or brain masquerading as a lipoma. A MRI would clearly demonstrate any deep connections and make surgery much safer.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Tumors of the back may extend to the spine.

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Yes it is possible that you have a tumor that extends to the spine. I am not sure how you know that this is a lipoma as it could be another tumor such as a vascular malformation. In this case Cobb's Syndrome is one possible diagnosis. In some cases, an MRI may be indicated to further evaluate or distinguish the nature of the tumor.

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

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