Get the Right Care
What is lipoma? A lipoma is a lump of fatty tissue that develops and grows under the skin. Lipomas can develop anywhere on the body. However, most develop on the arms or legs, back, neck, shoulders, chest, or forehead. When touched, they can move easily, and feel as if they are rubbery, not hard.
Most lipomas are benign and aren’t painful. However, if they start to bother you, you may want to seek treatment and/or removal. Some lipomas may develop near a joint or press against a nerve. In such a case, surgery may be warranted.
All surgeries, whether they be big or small, carry risks. For lipoma removal surgery, these typically include:
Risks of Surgery
You may need to take antibiotics before surgery. Routine blood work is usually not needed but may be ordered prior to surgery based on the patient's age and the presence of any existing medical problems.
Doctors usually do lipoma removal on an outpatient basis (you’ll be able to go home after the surgery). Before your surgery, a nurse will clean the affected area and administer a local anesthetic so that you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure.
The surgeon will make an incision on the skin above or near the lipoma to remove it. The skin may be sutured closed and covered with steri-strips and a gauze dressing or surgical glue. If you have more than one lipoma, they can often all be removed during the same visit.
Recovery time for lipoma removal will vary, but you should feel back to normal within a few days to weeks depending on the size of the lipoma. Be sure to keep the area clean and dry to avoid the possibility of infection. Itchiness or soreness is common, however let your doctor know if you experience swelling or excessive pain.
You will need to arrange for a ride home the day of your surgery and we recommend someone stay with you for the first 24 hours at home. When you leave the facility after surgery, we will want you to go home and rest. Avoid making any other plans on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you can increase your activity as you feel up to it.
You will likely be given a prescription for pain medication following your surgery. The recovery nurse will discuss a pain control plan following surgery specific to you and your needs including activities like ice applied over incisions and a medication regimen. Oftentimes we will recommend taking Tylenol and Advil (same as Motrin, Ibuprofen) or Aleve in addition to the narcotic pain medication.
Lastly, know that there is a high likelihood you will be left with some kind of scar. The size of the scar will largely depend on the size of the removed lipoma.
Did you know we have a support group?
Your questions and concerns have most likely been asked and answered in our support group. Moderated by our dietitian's, nurses, and staff. We provide you with reliable patient education and resources to help you throughout this life-changing process.