Is It Okay Not to Remove Multiple Lipomas?

My friend has a lot of lipomas on his body: on legs, arms, everywhere. His doctor advised not to remove them because it is going to be too much of pain and surgery. Is this decision good or bad? What could happen if Lipoma removal is not performed? Will it be dangerous?

Doctor Answers 3

OK Not to Remove Multiple Lipomas

Although it is not dangerous to remove multiple lipomas or even one for that matter they are slowly growing and at some point they may be disfiguring. Remember the larger the lipoma the larger the scar to remove them unless lipo is used - which will not remove all of it, just debulk it. 
You most likely have the diagnosis of familial lipomatosis (other family members will have the same problem). Lipomatosis is believed to be a dominant trait in which multiple lipomas are present. Most are discrete, encapsulated lipomas on the trunk and extremities.Although they may increase with weight gain, weight loss doesn't improve them in my experience.

Although this condition is benign, many patients concerned with cosmesis seek removal of individual tumors. Treatment can include simple excision, endoscopic removal, or liposuction if large. Liposuction, whether laser Liposuction or traditional will leave some of the lipoma cells behind which over time will probably recur though it may take years. There is nothing special about laser lipo vs regular liposuction to take care of your problem. I published the first article on lipo removal of large lipomas and believe this technique can be used knowing that you will probably have to repeat it when the lipomas eventually recur. However, this may be a reasonable option to minimize the number of scars.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Multiple lipomas and surgery

Lipomas are benign fatty tumors that pose minimal risk for malignancy. Multiple lipomas can be removed with surgery. The most common approach is to treat the most symptomatic lipomas first and observe non-symptomatic lesions.

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

Not all soft tissue tumors are lipomas


As long as your friend is willing to accept the risk should one or more of these tumors not be a lipoma, then it might be OK not to remove them all. It is really a matter of personal choice. The only way to know for sure what a tumor really is, is to remove it and send it to a pathologist for processing and evaluation.

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