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Lipoma Removal in Los Angeles: FAQ Part II

Lipoma Removal in Los Angeles: FAQ Part II

Lipomas usually develop in the subcutaneous space of the extremities or trunk.  Hence, they are usually surgically removed using local anesthesia.  In some cases, patients will present with an atypical lipoma or suspicious lipoma that is invading deeper structures of the body, such as the intramuscular fascia.  For these patients, a lump under the skin may be a sign of something more serious than a lipoma and this suspicion may lead an experienced clinician to perform the surgery in a hospital setting under general anesthesia.  In any case, it is important that you discuss your concerns with Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian at Kare Plastic Surgery + Skin Health Center in Santa Monica, who has profuse experience in lipoma removal.   Since he holds hospital privileges to perform the procedure in a hospital as well as an accredited outpatient surgical center, he will be able to determine the safest course for your surgery. 

Q: What are symptoms of a lipoma? 

A: A lipoma is a subcutaneous tumor that arises under the skin.  It does not necessarily have to cause symptoms, but can result in pain, itching, burning, numbness, or a cumbersome bump under the skin.   Painful lipomas are cause for concern and should be seen by Dr. Karamanoukian for evaluation.  Once a lipoma becomes symptomatic, it is usually of increased concern to a plastic surgeon who examines the subcutaneous nodule. 

Q: How are lipomas diagnosed?  
A: A lipoma begins a small mass just under the skin.  As the subcutaneous mass begins to grow, it becomes more apparent to a plastic surgeon whether the bump under the skin is a cyst or a lipoma.  In some cases, it is hard to distinguish a cyst from a lipoma, so more information and a thorough clinical history and physical examination is used to confirm the diagnosis.   During your consultation with Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian, a board certified plastic surgeon and an expert in lipoma removal in Los Angeles, your lipoma will be examined clinically to determine the likelihood of it being a lipomatous mass or a subcutneous tumor. Once the surgery is complete, the specimen will be sent to a board certified pathologist who will examine the lipoma under a microscope to determine the diagnosis and exclude other potential tumors.  Confirmatory testing with a pathologist is a requirement and will help assure that the right diagnosis and treatment is made.

Out of Town Patients For Lipoma Surgery 

Lipomas can be managed in a straightforward manner and Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian has many out of town patients and international patients who trust his expertise in lipoma removal and lipoma surgery.  If you are an out of town patient and wish to undergo lipoma surgery, Dr. Karamanoukian's surgical patient care coordinator can help facilitate your arrival in Los Angeles and can help coordinate your surgical schedule. 

Q: What causes a lipoma?
A: Actually, no one knows why lipomas form. It is thought that trauma may influence an adipocyte or fat cell to multiply beyond control, causing a lipoma to form.  A lipoma represents a tumor of fat cells that is not malignant.  There may also be a genetic link to lipomas. 

Q: How does a lipoma get treated? 
A: Many people have lipomas that require no treatment at all.  Lipomas can be surgically removed using a small incision over the subcutaneous mass. The incision is used to surgically remove the lipoma.  This is usually an outpatient clinic procedure done under local anesthesia.

Q: How quickly will I recover after lipoma removal? 
A: Usually a small steristrip is applied to the wound and the mass is noticeably gone at the end of surgery.  Recovery is quick and depends on the healing ability of your body. 

Q: How long does lipoma removal take to perform? 
A: Lipoma removal is performed in the office and does not take very long to perform.  Of course, Dr. Karamanoukian will perform the surgery under meticulous sterile conditions and this will require at least one hour for the entire procedure from start to finish. 

Q: Are there alternatives to lipoma removal?  
A: Alternatives include simple observation of the lipoma and massage.  These will not make the lipoma disappear, but are only ways to avoid a surgical procedure. Surgery is the gold standard for lipoma treatment.  Laser treatment of lipomas has not been proven to be effective, as are other treatment modalities including ultrasound treatment of lipomas and mesotherapy. 

Q: Does lipoma removal hurt? 
A: Lipoma removal is usually an outpatient procedure in most patients and can take minutes to perform in the most simplest form and hours to perform in more complicated revisional lipoma surgery patients.  In our Los Angeles plastic surgery office, we encounter patients with a single lipoma and others with multiple lipomas that require excision. Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian is a leader in the treatment of lipomas and can help diagnose and surgicall remove your lipoma with minimal anesthesia and downtime.  Depending on the severity of your particular lipoma surgery, the procedure will either be performed under local anesthesia, or if need be, under general anesthesia or iv sedation.  Most cases of lipoma removal do not hurt.  You will likely only experience some mild discomfort after the surgery as the wound heals.

Q: Price of lipoma removal? 
A: The cost of lipoma removal is dependent on the complexity of the surgery, the cost of anesthesia, and the surgical center fees. Insurance often pays for the procedure.  

Q: Is it unusual to have many lipomas? 
A: The number of lipomas you will develop is unpredictable.  There are some patients with hundreds of lipomas on their body, while others have one solitary lipoma throughout their lives.  Lipomas represent a very common medical problem and are usually caused by trauma or genetics.  If you have a lipoma, or think you may have a lipoma, it is best to have it evaluated in our Los Angeles plastic surgery office to determine if it is a lipoma or another type of tumor. 

Q: Is lipoma removal covered by insurance? 
A: Although insurance plans vary, lipoma removal may be covered by your insurance carrier. You will need to speak to your own insurance carrier to determine your individual benefits, deductible, and out of pocket costs. 

Learn more about lipoma removal at Kare Plastic Surgery + Skin Health Center in Santa Monica.  Dr. Karamanoukian is a board certified plastic surgeon practicing in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles.  He is available for consultation for lipoma removal and lipoma excision.  Dr. Karamanoukian employs sound surgical techniques and judgement in his approach.  He makes every attempt to minimize scarring and remove the lipoma in its entirety.