Top New York plastic surgeon Dr. Darrick Antell is board certified in plastic surgery, emphasizing aesthetic / cosmetic surgery. One of the cosmetic and reconstructive surgery procedures he regularly performs is lipoma removal.
Lipoma removal is the excision of uncomfortable, fatty tissue growths known as lipomas. These growths develop directly under the skin and are one of the most common growths seen on the body. Although benign lipomas do not pose any life threatening concern, these growths are painful and uncomfortable. They can grow into the deeper muscle, push on nerves and interfere in daily or physical activities. This is the medical justification for removal, and the tissue is sent to pathology to confirm it is not cancerous. If you are considering lipoma removal, this section will give you a basic understanding of the procedure.
Lipoma removal is a specific surgery used to excise fatty tumors through either liposuction or an incision then dissect, “press and squeeze,” technique. Lipomas can potentially form anywhere on the body, such as the thighs, back of the neck, at the lower spine, and the arms. Multiple lipomas are not uncommon; people typically develop one to three lipomas at once, although in occasional cases, some patients have as many as 100 lipomas. Two methods of lipoma removal are available depending on the size and location of each case. Dr. Antell will discuss the best method of lipoma removal for each specific lipoma site.
If you're considering lipoma removal, this information will give you a basic understanding of the procedure, when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect. It can't answer all of your questions, since many aspects of surgery depend on the individual patient and the surgeon. Please ask your doctor about anything you don't understand.
Lipoma removal can enhance your cosmetic appearance and quality of life, especially for those whose lipomas have restricted them from physical activities, are uncomfortable, or have become extremely large. Once the lipoma reaches a certain size, or multiple lipomas have grown, movement may become restricted in the affected area, preventing you from enjoying or participating in physical activities which utilize a broad range of movement.The best candidates for this procedure are patients who need relief from the discomfort and constricted movement caused by their lipomas. Once these growths develop, they are permanent unless removed surgically, and in many cases, lipomas will continue to grow larger. Although lipomas are not dangerous to your overall health, people typically have them removed to relieve their pain, discomfort and the disfigurement they cause. If you feel embarrassed or are physically hindered by your lipoma, you no longer have to live a restricted life. Dr. Antell will discuss how your individual lipoma removal can help improve your life.
The vast majority of lipomas are removed using only local anesthesia. That means that you can arrive on your own, have the procedure, and go home unescorted. A small bandage may be removed by you the next day; you can shower over the area, and return to work. Meticulously placed dissolving sutures will melt away over the following weeks, although a follow up appointment is recommended to observe the healing process.
Only occasionally, depending on the size and location of the lipoma, will sedation be recommended in addition to local anesthesia. While lipoma removal is extremely safe, all surgery involves some level of risk and the potential for complication. These complications may include bleeding, infection, or a reaction to anesthesia. Being open and honest with Dr. Antell about previous surgeries and medical history will help to lower the risk of complication during surgery. As long as the operating facility is properly accredited and the surgeon adequately trained in plastic surgery, lipoma removal is a very commonly performed surgery with a low complication rate.
The risk during surgery may increase depending on the size, location, and number of lipomas being treated. Another infrequent, but possible, complication after surgery could include a thicker than usual scar. Both the liposuction and “press and squeeze” techniques utilize an incision, but Dr. Antell uses the most advanced, scar minimizing methods available to ensure an unobtrusive, unnoticeable scar. Patients who qualify for the liposuction technique of lipoma removal will only need the smallest of incisions to allow the cannula access to the fatty layer under the skin.
During your initial consultation, Dr. Antell will evaluate your health, determine where your lipomas are located, how much they impede movement or interfere with daily activities, and carefully access the technique best suited to remove your individual lipomas. Dr. Antell will explain the risks involved with surgery, other surgical options if available, and a combination of lipoma removal and scar revision if appropriate.
Be frank in discussing your expectations with Dr. Antell. He will be equally frank with you, describing the procedure in detail and explaining its risks and limitations. Dr. Antell will also explain the anesthesia he will use, the type of facility where the surgery will be performed, and the costs involved.
During this consultation, be sure to inform your surgeon if you smoke, and if you're taking any medications, vitamins, or other drugs. Don't hesitate to ask Dr. Antell any questions you may have, especially those regarding your expectations and concerns about the results.
In the majority of cases, the lipoma removal may be performed on the same day of the consultation and will only require local anesthesia. However, if the lipomas are very large, or are in a more tricky location, then a separate appointment will be made. If necessary, twilight anesthesia, along with other medicines, may be arranged.
Lipoma removal may performed in a surgeon's office-based facility or another outpatient surgery facility using local anesthesia. It's usually performed on an outpatient basis for cost containment and convenience, and patients may return home immediately following surgery. Patients should anticipate returning for a post-operative visit, so Dr. Antell can assess the progress of your healing. Occasionally, non-dissolving sutures may be used and would require removal.
Lipoma removal surgery utilizes local anesthesia and rarely may also require the use of an IV sedative commonly known as “Twilight.” Patients who receive “Twilight” will feel as though they are falling asleep naturally. Although you will remain conscious, you won’t be aware of the surgery or remember the surgery taking place. This ensures that patients are comfortable throughout the entire experience.
Lipoma removal surgery often only requires local anesthesia and can be performed in approximately 30 minutes, but this depends on the size and number of the lipomas and the method of removal.
Lipomas can be excised using two different methods:
The size and location of all lipomas differ on an individual basis; your surgeon will discuss which technique is most appropriate for you.
Patients may return home immediately following their lipoma removal but should expect to return for a post-operative visit to ensure your treatment site is healing properly. No matter the technique used to excise the lipoma, a sample is typically sent out to a laboratory for testing, ensuring the fatty tissue is not cancerous. Although benign lipomas are not cancerous, strict precautions are always made to ensure the safety and health of each patient.
How to get started? Dr. Darrick E. Antell and his staff will be happy to discuss Scar Revision / Scar Removal. Please call for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our office.
Dr. Darrick E. Antell and his staff will be happy to discuss lipoma removal with you. Please call for a private consultation or schedule an appointment online at our office.