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Procedures

Lipoma Removal

Lipoma Removal

If you’ve recently discovered an unusual lump on your body, it could be a lipoma. Lipomas are generally harmless but can cause discomfort or concerns about appearance. Lipomas are soft, noncancerous tumours made up of fat cells and are typically found on the shoulders, neck, chest, arms, and back. They are the most common form of soft tissue tumour and are usually just under the skin. They move easily when touched and are generally painless. Despite their benign nature, you might consider having a lipoma removed if it’s painful, growing, or causing cosmetic concerns.

 

At a glance

Expected results:
Removal of lump
Treatment time:
Approx. 30 minutes
Anaesthesia:
Local anaesthesia
Downtime:
2-3 days

Table of Contents

What is Lipoma Removal?

Lipoma removal is the surgical procedure performed to remove lipomas, which are benign lumps of fatty tissue that develop just below the skin. These lumps are most often found in middle-aged individuals but can occur at any age. While lipomas are not cancerous and usually not harmful, their appearance and location can occasionally lead to discomfort or distress.

The removal process is generally straightforward. Depending on the size and position of the lipoma, as well as personal health factors, removal can be performed under local or general anaesthesia. The goal of the procedure is not only to eradicate the lipoma for cosmetic or comfort reasons but also to confirm that it is indeed benign through a histopathological examination.

While all lipomas consist of fat cells, there are several different types, each with its own characteristics and implications for treatment. Here’s a detailed overview of the various types of lipomas you might encounter:

Conventional Lipoma

The conventional lipoma is the most common type and is composed of mature white fat cells. These lipomas are soft, movable under the skin, and generally painless. They usually appear on the shoulders, neck, back, and abdomen. Conventional lipomas rarely cause discomfort unless they grow large enough to compress nearby nerves or structures.

Angiolipoma

Angiolipomas are a painful variant of lipomas due to the presence of blood vessels within the fatty tissue. They are more likely to be tender or painful to the touch, which distinguishes them from the more common conventional lipomas. Angiolipomas often occur in younger adults and can appear in clusters.

Fibrolipoma

A fibrolipoma contains a significant amount of fibrous tissue along with fatty tissue. This type of lipoma is slightly firmer to the touch and may be less mobile under the skin compared to a conventional lipoma. Fibrolipomas are often found in the neck and back areas.

Hibernoma

Hibernomas are rare tumours that arise from brown fat rather than the typical white fat that forms most lipomas. Brown fat is involved in body temperature regulation, and hibernomas are characterised by their deeper colour and vascularity. These tumours are most commonly found in the thighs, shoulders, back, and neck.

Spindle Cell Lipoma

Usually found in older adults, spindle cell lipomas are located on the neck and back. These lipomas are unique because they contain spindle-shaped cells mixed with fat cells. They are benign and slow-growing, and they tend to be more fibrous, making them firmer than typical lipomas.

Pleomorphic Lipoma

Similar to spindle cell lipomas, pleomorphic lipomas also contain a mixture of cell types including bizarre and multiform cells. They are usually found in the neck and back and are most common in older men. These lipomas are also benign and have a low risk of malignancy.


Who Needs Lipoma Removal Surgery?

You might consider lipoma removal if you have a lipoma that is causing discomfort, pain, or is steadily growing. While these tumours are benign, they can become bothersome, especially if they develop in areas where they might rub against clothing or otherwise be in the way.

The decision to remove a lipoma is typically driven by a few factors: the lipoma’s size, its location, and any symptoms it may cause. For instance, a lipoma on the back may remain unnoticed and asymptomatic for years and require no treatment. However, a lipoma on the wrist could interfere with wrist and hand movements and might need to be removed for functional reasons.

Anca often suggest monitoring the lipoma for changes before deciding on surgery. If the lipoma changes in size or starts to cause pain, surgical removal might be the next step. Moreover, anyone concerned about the aesthetic aspect of having a visible lipoma might also opt for this procedure, as its removal can enhance appearance and, consequently, personal comfort.


Benefits of the Lipoma Removal Procedure

The primary benefit of undergoing lipoma removal is the relief from any discomfort caused by the lipoma pressing against nerves or muscle tissue. In addition to physical comfort, the removal can significantly improve the visual appearance of the area where the lipoma was located, especially if it was in a highly visible or sensitive area such as the face or arms.

Furthermore, lipoma removal can provide peace of mind by confirming that the growth is indeed a benign lipoma. After the procedure, the removed tissue is usually sent for histopathological examination. This analysis is essential as it ensures that the growth was not malignant and helps rule out other potential problems that could mimic the appearance of a lipoma, such as a liposarcoma, which is a rare cancerous tumour.

Another significant benefit is minimal scarring and a generally straightforward recovery process. The techniques used for removing lipomas are designed to minimise tissue damage and result in as little scarring as possible. Depending on the method of removal, such as minimal incision extraction, the cosmetic outcomes can be excellent, with scars barely noticeable once fully healed.

For many individuals, the procedure can also lead to improved mobility, especially if the lipoma was located in an area that interfered with joint movement. For example, a lipoma near a joint like the elbow or knee could restrict range of motion, and its removal would result in immediate improvement in mobility.

Types of Lipoma Removal Procedures

Excision

This is the traditional method where Anca makes a cut over the lipoma and dissects it out of the surrounding tissue. It is very effective for most lipomas and typically leaves a scar that fades over time.

Liposuction

This technique uses a thin tube, or cannula, inserted through a small incision to suck out the fat cells of the lipoma. Liposuction is particularly useful for larger lipomas and has the advantage of leaving a smaller scar. However, there is a higher chance of the lipoma reoccurring since it is possible that not all cells are removed.

Minimal Incision Extraction

In this method, Anca makes a small incision and uses a specialised tool to chop up and remove the lipoma in small pieces. This can be beneficial for reducing scarring and is often used for lipomas in highly visible areas.

How is the Lipoma Removal Procedure Performed?

The lipoma removal process involves the following steps, which may vary slightly depending on the type of procedure being performed:

  • Preparation: You will be given detailed instructions on preparing for surgery, including any adjustments to medication and eating or drinking restrictions.
  • Anaesthesia: Most lipoma removals are performed under local anaesthesia, which numbs the area around the lipoma but keeps you awake. This minimises risks associated with general anaesthesia. For larger lipomas, or those in tricky locations, general anaesthesia might be required.
  • The Incision: Anca will make an incision in the skin over the lipoma. The size of the incision depends on the removal technique being used.
  • Removal: The lipoma is carefully separated from the surrounding tissues and removed. The method of removal will be determined by the size and depth of the lipoma and the chosen surgical technique.
  • Closure: Once the lipoma is removed, the incision will be closed with stitches. These may be dissolvable or may require removal after a few days or weeks, depending on the type of stitches used.

When it comes to the removal of lipomas, there are several techniques that Anca might choose from, depending on the size, location, and number of lipomas. The choice of procedure will largely depend on your specific case. Anca will discuss the options with you and recommend the best method based on the characteristics of the lipoma and your personal preferences.


Recovery after Lipoma Removal Procedure

Recovery from a lipoma removal is generally quick and complications are rare. Most people can return to their normal activities within a few days, although you might need to avoid strenuous activity for a short period as advised by Anca.

Immediately following the procedure, it’s common to experience some minor pain and discomfort, which can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers. Swelling and bruising around the site of the surgery are also normal and should subside within a few weeks.

It’s important to care for the wound according to Anca’s instructions. This involves keeping the area clean and dry, and watching for signs of infection such as increased redness, swelling, or a discharge that is unusual. You might be advised to apply a bandage or dressing to the site, which helps to protect the area and absorb any minor bleeding or discharge.

Following up with Anca is important to ensure that the site is healing properly and to assess the need for any further treatment. During these follow-up visits, stitches might be removed, and any persistent swelling or discomfort can be evaluated.

Another aspect of recovery involves managing the scar that forms as the incision heals. Scar management techniques might include massaging the area, using silicone sheets or gels, and ensuring adequate sun protection to prevent darkening of the scar tissue.

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How Much Does Lipoma Removal Cost in the UK?

The cost of lipoma removal can vary significantly based on several factors including the size and number of lipomas, the type of procedure used, and whether it is covered by health insurance. In the UK, lipoma removal might be covered by the NHS if it is deemed medically necessary. This can include situations where the lipoma is painful, infected, or restricts movement.

For lipomas that are removed for cosmetic reasons or for those opting for private treatment to avoid waiting times, the costs can range significantly. On average, private lipoma removal might cost between £1,200 and £5,000. This price range typically includes consultation fees, the cost of the surgery itself, and any follow-up care required.


Further Reading

faq-photo

Procedure

Frequently asked questions

Currently, lipomas are not removed on the NHS as they are not considered detrimental to a person’s health. However, Chester Cosmetic Surgery recognises the impact they can have on a person’s well-being and will ensure a thorough examination has been carried out to determine your suitability.

Surgical excision or liposuction are both safe and effective options for removing lipomas. The procedure is treated as a day case, and doesn’t often require multiple treatment sessions.

Excision surgery may be uncomfortable. Chester Cosmetic Surgery uses a local anaesthetic for this procedures, so you won’t feel any pain.

Lipoma removal aims to take away as much fatty tissue as possible (and in many cases removes all of the fatty tissue), producing an immediate result.

While lipoma removal is generally a safe procedure, as with any surgery, there are potential risks involved. These may include infection at the incision site, bleeding, or an adverse reaction to the anaesthesia. There is also a risk of scarring, and in rare cases, the removed lipoma might regrow if any cells are left behind. Additionally, there might be temporary numbness or bruising around the surgery site depending on the nerve tissues affected during the procedure.

Yes, there is a possibility of lipoma recurrence, but this is relatively rare. Recurrence may occur if the lipoma was not completely excised and some cells remained. To minimise the risk of a lipoma returning, Anca tries to remove it entirely, often including a margin of healthy tissue around it. Follow-up visits can help monitor the area and address any recurrence early.

Recovery time after lipoma removal varies depending on the size and location of the lipoma, as well as the specific procedure used. Most patients can return to normal activities within a few days, although complete healing of the incision site might take a couple of weeks. Strenuous activities and heavy lifting should be avoided for a period recommended by Anca to ensure proper healing.

Non-surgical approaches to managing lipomas are limited, as these growths do not typically respond well to anything other than physical removal. However, in cases where surgery is not feasible or desired, some doctors may suggest observation, especially if the lipoma is small and asymptomatic. For pain management, over-the-counter pain relief medications can be used if the lipoma is tender or uncomfortable, but these measures do not reduce the size of the lipoma or remove it.

About Anca Breahna – Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

Ms Anca Breahna, PhD, MSc, FEBOPRAS, FRCS (Plast) is a highly regarded Consultant Plastic Surgeon specialising in the field of Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgery.

Anca performs a wide range of Hand Surgery & Skin Surgery and Aesthetic Breast, Body and Face Surgery,

Anca Breahna - Female Plastic Surgeon in Chester UK

As one of the very few female Plastic Surgeons in the region, she is able to offer that unique female perspective, with empathy, attention to detail and personalised care. It is Anca’s true dedication and commitment to her field, that sets her aside from her peers. Her extensive surgical training means that you are in safe hands. She is renowned for providing exceptional care, support and helping achieve realistic goals for her patients.

Anca Breahna’s surgical training has mainly been undertaken within the United Kingdom. She began a rigorous training programme in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in 1999, after achieving her medical degree from the University of Bucharest. Miss Breahna attained her PhD degree at the same university in 2007 for her medical research. She then relocated to the UK and has worked Internationally to further extend her qualifications and training.

The team at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery looks forward to meeting you and will treat you with respect, consideration, and empathy.

Your Next Steps

Do your Research

  • Please read our website pages and blogs to learn more about your intended procedure.
  • All Surgery has risks and potential complications. Please read more about the risks of your surgery.

Get a Medical Referral before your consultation at Cheshire Cosmetic Surgery

  • A Referral from your Doctor is not essential, however it is recommended to have one

Making The Most Of Your Consultation

  • Please arrive slightly early for your in-person consultation with Anca – Car parking is usually available on-site
  • You are welcome to bring a friend or relative to help consider the information and discuss your options
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes during the consultation and thoroughly read all the documents provided

Want more information before scheduling your consultation?

  • Please call to find out more about availability, pricing and medical payment plans
  • Request more information about the procedure – call us or email us

How to Book your Consultation with Anca Breahna – Plastic Surgeon

  • You can book your consultation with Anca by paying the £150 cosmetic consultation fee when you make your appointment. This fee covers further consultations about the same concern.

Contact Anca’s Team

Call Claire or Joedy on 03332 244111 to arrange your consultation or email us for more information.

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