At the Los Angeles Center of Excellence, one of our biggest missions is patient education. There are many misconceptions about lipomas, so it is important for patients to understand the facts about these tumors.
If you have more questions after reading our current FAQ, please don’t hesitate to contact our surgery center. You can schedule a consultation, and one of our board-certified Los Angeles specialists will answer any questions you may have.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a lipoma?
A: A lipoma is a growth of fatty tissue (adipose tissue) that usually forms just beneath the surface of the skin. These fatty growths have a soft and rubbery texture and appear as round lumps in the skin, although in certain cases they can form internally. Although these growths are considered tumors, they are benign (noncancerous) growths.
Q: What causes these growths?
A: It is not completely understood what causes these fatty lumps, but it is clear that there is a hereditary nature to these growths. People with relatives who have suffered from these growths are more likely to develop the condition.
Q: What is a fatty tumor?
A: A fatty tumor is a benign, soft tissue tumor composed of adipose (fat) tissue. Lipomas are the most common form of soft tissue (fatty) tumors.
Q: How is it diagnosed?
A: Typically, a doctor can diagnose a fatty growth based on appearance alone. However, in some cases a tissue sample removal (biopsy) or ultrasound may be needed to diagnose the growth and rule out other conditions.
Q: Can these growths be cancerous?
A: Lipomas are, by definition, benign tumors. However, some tumors containing cancerous or precancerous cells can look very similar to a fatty tumor, so it is important to see a doctor right away if you develop a lump in your skin. Even though it’s rare for these benign tumors to become dangerous, a patient should ideally have them removed as soon as possible.
Q: What does treatment surgery cost?
A: Lipoma treatment may be covered by insurance in certain cases, usually if the fatty lump is causing extreme pain or needs to be removed for other health reasons. However, any removal that is performed for cosmetic reasons is not usually covered by insurance. In these circumstances, our staff can work with you on a financing plan that meets your needs.
Q: Do they hurt?
A: Most of them do not hurt. However, in some cases a skin lump may grow larger and start to become painful or restrict movement. If you have a skin lump that is causing you pain, it is important to seek medical treatment right away.
Q: How are they treated?
A: Skin lumps do not usually require treatment unless they are causing pain, restricting movement, or the patient is unhappy with the appearance of the growth. If your fatty growth does need to be treated, the doctor may use steroid injections or liposuction to shrink or remove the the fatty growth. However, the most common technique used to treat these growths is surgical removal (excision).
Q: Will there be a scar after treatment surgery?
A: There may be minor scarring following your surgery, but our Los Angeles surgeons specialize in the most minimally invasive procedures that produce the least amount of scarring possible. Additionally, after the sutures have fully healed, your scar will gradually become fainter or even completely invisible. The easiest way to prevent scarring is by scheduling treatment before the fatty tumor can grow. A smaller growth will result in a smaller removal scar.
Q: How long is surgery recovery?
A: Treatment surgery can be done on an outpatient basis, which means the patient can go home the same day as the procedure. Most of our patients at the Los Angeles Center of Excellence can return to normal daily activities the following day, and make full recoveries (including regaining full movement and ability in the area operated on) within a few weeks.
Q: When can I go back to work after treatment surgery?
A: Recovery from skin lump surgery is very fast, and most of our patients can return to work the day after their procedure. Additionally, many of these procedures can be done under local anesthesia (instead of general anesthesia), so some patients may even be able to return to work the same day as their surgeries (depending on the nature of work).
Contact the Lipoma Removal Center of Excellence
If you suffer from lipomas and are interested in learning more about lipoma treatment and other treatment options, please feel free to contact our outpatient surgery center in Los Angeles. You can schedule a consultation with a board-certified surgeon at the Los Angeles Center of Excellence by calling (888) 316-9905 or by filling out our online contact form.
Please read this WebMD article on lipomas.
Next, read lipoma removal patient reviews.