A lipoma is formed by a benign, non-cancerous accumulation of adipocytes (fat cells) underneath the skin. The lipoma usually grows in size over the course of several years, but may begin to double in size at a faster rate as it gets larger and larger. To most people, lipomas are a minor inconvenience, but to others, it represents a nuisance and becomes symptomatic, with a generalized symptom of pain or discomfort.
In rare cases, a lipoma begins to grow around or near a sensory nerve, causing pain and continuous discomfort. The lipomatous growth can completely encase a nerve in rare occasions, making surgical excision difficult with a higher risk of permanent sensory debility.
Most lipomas can be removed by a surgical incision and meticulous dissection of the lipomatous growth. The procedures are performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia, but more complicated lipomas that are deep or that have a calcified rim may require a more invasive procedure and deeper anesthesia techniques, including intravenous sedation or general anesthesia.
Recurrent lipomas are rare, but are known to occur as a result of inadequate dissection or an unknown cause. Recurrent lipomas are more difficult to treat as a result of scar tissue that forms around the mass. Scar tissue may obscure the surgical planes and make the surgical dissection of the edges more difficult and cumbersome.
Schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian at Kare Plastic Surgery + Skin Health Center in Santa Monica. Our patient care coordinators can help answer your questions about outpatient lipoma removal and insurance coverage for most PPO insurance plans.