You may not be familiar with the term “lipoma,” but these fatty, rubbery growths are quite common. In fact, an estimated 1 in 1,000 people has one somewhere on their body. They can be present at birth or develop at any age, though they’re most common in people ages 40-60.
In most cases, lipomas don’t require treatment. However, if you have a lipoma that causes pain or discomfort, soft tissue surgery or excision of the lipoma is the best solution.
At Surgical Associates of North Texas in McKinney, Texas, Scott A. deVilleneuve, MD, specializes in soft tissue surgery to repair and restore damaged tissues in the body. What sets these procedures apart is the flexible nature of soft tissue, meaning it can move or change shape when handled, unlike solid things, such as bone.
With Dr. deVilleneuve’s considerable experience and expertise in soft tissue procedures, he can remove your problematic lipoma so you can find relief.
As we mentioned above, lipomas are rarely serious. These noncancerous tumors contain fat cells, and they often form between skin and muscle. They often feel soft and rubbery, and you can usually move them by giving them a gentle nudge. While most lipomas are less than 2 inches in diameter, they can continue to grow slowly over time.
Less often, a lump can resemble a lipoma but actually be a form of cancer known as liposarcoma. These fatty masses grow rapidly, usually don’t move, and typically cause pain. Some people with lipomas can also experience pain, but this symptom usually occurs if the mass presses on surrounding nerves or contains blood vessels.
Confirmation of the diagnosis can usually be determined by Dr. deVilleneuve with just a physical exam, however additional imaging tests, such as a CT scan or ultrasound may be required.
Lipomas may not be life-threatening, but they can be uncomfortable, continue to grow, and cause bothersome changes to your appearance. Additionally, while usually harmless, there is a small possibility of the mass becoming malignant over time. If this sounds familiar, Dr. deVilleneuve can remove your lipoma.
The best time to remove a lipoma is when it’s small. At this point, Dr. deVilleneuve can often remove the lipoma using only local anesthesia in his office. Larger masses, however, require an outpatient surgery with general anesthesia. The removal itself is usually pretty straightforward with a single incision being made over the top of the mass, then the mass itself being dissected free from the surrounding tissue. Depending on the location, absorbable sutures may be all that are needed to close the incision.
Regarding recovery, the guidelines depend on the size and location of the lipoma. In general, you may have to limit some of your daily activities for a short period while you heal. Dr. deVilleneuve can provide personalized recommendations to ensure the best recovery possible. Lipomas rarely grow back after this simple surgical procedure.
Do you have a lipoma that bothers you? Learn about your treatment options by booking an appointment online or over the phone with Surgical Associates of North Texas today.