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Lipoma Removal in Los Angeles: FAQ

Lipoma Removal FAQ

Kare Plastic Surgery & Skin Health Clinic is a dedicated plastic surgery and cosmetic dermatology office dedicated to serving the Los Angeles area.  Our two offices provide comprehensive plastic surgery, reconstructive surgery, cosmetic surgery, and cosmetic dermatology treatments in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Malibu, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Marina del Rey, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Culver City, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Northridge, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, and Glendale areas.

Q: What is a lipoma?  

A: A lipoma is a fatty tumor that occurs underneath the skin.  It can be an isolated nodule, or more rarely, occur as a result of diffuse lipomatosis in which multiple lipomas arise on the body during one's lifetime.

Q: Does Dr. Karamanoukian treat lipomas with surgery?  

A: Surgery is one of many options available to treat lipomas.  Most do not require surgery unless a lipoma becomes symptomatic or if there is a cosmetic reason to remove the lipoma.  Dr. Karamanoukian treats lipomas with surgery if that is necessary, based on physical examination and medical history.  Your examination will begin with palpation of the subcutaneous mass to note its dimension, location, depth within the tissue, and adherence to underlying tissue. If a lipoma is capable of being removed, Dr. Karamanoukian will provide you with options for surgical removal. 

Q: How many lipomas can be removed at once?  

A: This all depends on the size of the lipomas, the location of the lipomas, and whether they are recurrent or new.  Scar tissue may make re-excision of a lipoma difficult.  Dr. Karamanoukian will carefully examine your lipomas and help you determine how many can be removed in one setting, if that is possible.  Care is taken by the staff of Kare Plastic Surgery to ensure that your procedure is done safely and with minimal risk.  Removal of multiple lipomas is generally an accepted treatment and a consultation will help you decide the plan of care. 

Q: Are lipomas dangerous if they are not removed?

A: By definition, lipomas are non-cancerous growths of fat cells and it is rare for them to turn into cancer, although this is a distinct but rare possibility.  There are variants of lipomas that can be cancerous and this is one of the reasons why Dr. Karamanoukian will recommend that the specimen be sent to pathology for examination to rule out any problems.  It is always wise to consult with an expert if you are having any type of abnormal growth underneath your skin.  

Q: Do you accept out-of-town patients?
A: We have many patients who fly in from out-of-town to have lipomas removed.  Our office will be able to accomodate your request for surgery based on an online examination and submission of photographs.  Arrangements can be made with the surgical staff and an examination will be arranged upon your arrival.  Dr. Karamanoukian will maintain the highest standards of surgical care in order to assure that your procedure is completed to your satisfaction.

Q: Is lipoma surgery dangerous?  

A: Dr. Karamanoukian will take precautions to maximize your safety during lipoma surgery.  The procedure is usually done in an outpatient surgical center or clinic procedure room. Lipoma surgery is usually performed under local anesthesia or twighlight sedation.

Q: How do I know if I have a lipoma or a cyst? 
A: Sometimes it is difficult to tell until surgery is performed.  If it is a critical factor in your care, Dr. Karamanoukian may order an ultrasound or MRI to determine the likelihood that the lesion is a cyst and not a true lipoma.

Q: Is it possible to have multiple lipomas?  

A: Patients can have other family members that have had multiple lipomas.  The condition is known as lipomatosis, and can be treated with surgical excision of the symptomatic lipomas.

Q: Is a lipoma likely to grow larger with time?  

A: Lipomas will grow larger with time.  They have a propensity to grow in size and will not likely resolve on their own.  Lipomas have been shown to grow with an irregular and unpredictable pattern of growth. If you have multiple lipomas, it is not uncommon for some of your lipomas to grow at a faster rate than others.