Lipomas are common soft tissue growths and are comprised of benign fat cells. If you are notice a soft tissue bulge, it is important to undergo assessment by your family physician to ensure the growth is not medically concerning. If the fatty growth then bothers you cosmetically or you wish to address it before future growth, seeing a board-certified plastic surgeon will inform you of treatment options.
"I think the best results are natural-looking. Refreshed and reflected by a patient’s self-confidence."
- DR. STEPHANIE POWER
What is Lipoma Removal?
Lipomas are bumps under the skin or within underlying muscle that are made up of fat. It is unclear what exactly causes them, but they tend to carry a genetic component and are more common in certain age groups. It is important to be assessed by your regular physician before opting for cosmetic removal. Lipomas may be removed through direct surgical excision or sometimes through liposuction in the case of large lipomas like a buffalo hump.
How is Lipoma Removal Performed?
Lipoma removal may be performed under local or general anesthetic depending on size and location. Once the area is anesthetized, Dr. Power will create an overlying incision and then remove the fatty tissue. The wound base is then cauterized to minimize bleeding and stitched closed. For larger lipomas, liposuction may be an option to minimize scarring.
Lipoma Removal Recovery
Recovery after lipoma removal will depend on the size of the lipoma and surgical technique. You may generally return to office-based work on the following day. It is recommended to avoid exercise for two weeks. Cold compresses may be beneficial over 48 hours post-op to reduce bruising, bleeding, and swelling. A compression garment may be required for 6 weeks if liposuction was performed. Stitches are removed at 1-2 weeks post-operatively depending on the surgical site. Dr. Power will make specific recommendations based on your presentation. There is a low risk of lipoma recurrence in the long-term.
Lipoma Removal FAQ’s
What is the difference between a lipoma and a cyst?
Although lipomas and cysts may appear similar on clinical examination, a lipoma is made up of fat cells while a cyst is filled with thick fluid. In either case, it is important to have your growth assessed by your regular physician before opting for elective removal.
How is a Lipoma Diagnosed?
A lipoma is generally diagnosed by clinical history and examination. Sometimes further imaging or biopsy may be performed.
Will Insurance Cover Lipoma Removal?
If your lipoma does not appear suspicious, removal is generally considered an elective procedure and not covered by provincial insurance. We encourage you to check with your provider prior to consultation with Dr. Power.
Can Lipomas Be Removed with Liposuction?
Larger lipomas may be removed with liposuction to minimize scarring. Surgical options will be discussed during consultation depending on the presentation of your lipoma.
Will I Have a Scar After Lipoma Removal?
Scarring is a risk of any surgical procedure. You may reduce final scar appearance by wearing UV protection, performing scar massage, and applying silicone gel or sheeting based on recommendations by Dr. Power. It takes one year for your scar to reach its final appearance. For larger lipomas, liposuction may be an option to reduce scarring.