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What is Lipoma Surgery?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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Lipoma surgery is a process to remove thin, fatty tissues that grow in many different places on the body. Though no one quite understands what causes lipoma, surgery is a very common method of treating the problem. More than one case of lipoma may be present on the body at the same time, but they can be handled during the same surgery. Surgery does not prevent the problem, it only removes it.

Lipoma surgery is usually a very simple surgery to perform. In most cases, it can be done on an outpatient basis, and under a local anesthetic. This means that those who go in for surgery in the morning will be released on the same day. Also, the patient will usually be awake during the lipoma surgery. It is often performed in a hospital outpatient surgery area, or a minor surgery center. Recovery is relatively easy. There may be some soreness around the incision and sutured area, but this is usually not severe, and is often handled with over the counter pain medications.

The procedure for lipoma removal is to first inject a local anesthetic around the lipoma. After that area has become deadened to pain, an incision is made, and the tissue is removed. Then the patient's wound is stitched up. The entire process may last no longer than 20 minutes from start to finish. In most cases, patients can be in and out in less than 90 minutes, especially if only one or two are removed. In rare situations, a general anesthetic may be needed if the lipoma is in an area not easily reachable.

In many cases, people may live with the fat deposit for quite a long period of time. Other than being slightly bothersome to the touch, there is often no other medical issues associated with them. They are generally considered to be benign. For this reason, the medical necessity of lipoma removal is debatable. Therefore, those who elect lipoma surgery may find they do so without the approval of their health insurance carrier. In such cases, the patient will be responsible for the bill.

In a few cases, lipoma removal may be considered medically necessary. This is especially true when the fatty lump becomes painful to touch, gets infected, or emits foul smelling pus or fluid. In such cases, lipoma surgery may be paid for by the insurance carrier. In order for this to happen, it will often be necessary for the physician to explain to the insurance company what the necessity is.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon225202 — On Oct 26, 2011

This article fails to introduce any of the new available treatment options such as steroid injections, collagenase injections, lipostabil and ozone treatment for lipomas. Some have had results with turmeric and apricot seeds also.

By anon118879 — On Oct 15, 2010

Lipomas do not become infected and emit fluid or pus. They are merely collections of fat cells. Those symptoms would be consistent with epidermal inclusion cysts.

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