Lipomas are the most common soft tissue tumors that are mostly found in the subcutaneous location (below the epidermis). Lipomatosis is the condition when a person has multiple lipomas on his body. They are benign in nature and manifest as soft, round mass of tissue enclosed within a thin, fibrous capsule. Although they are benign, sometimes they may grow large enough to obstruct movement. This results in the need for their removal. Sometimes, lipoma removal is resorted to in event of purely cosmetic reasons.
These kinds of tumors can also be intramuscular or gastrointestinal (can be found in the esophagus, stomach, or small/large intestine). When in the gastrointestinal tract, they can cause obstruction of the chyme or fecal matter and can cause pain, bleeding and discomfort. When in the respiratory tract, they can cause breathing difficulty. But since they are mostly subcutaneous, this article will concentrate on subcutaneous lipoma removal procedures.
Procedures for Lipoma Removal
Lipomas are removed surgically as well as non-surgically. Non-surgical procedure involves use of steroids or liposuction. Here is more information on various options available for removal of lipomas.
In case of steroid treatment, steroid injections are administered directly into the tumor that causes it to shrink but does not remove it completely. These injections need to be taken once every month for a couple of months. It may be weeks before any considerable decrease in the size of the tumor can be observed.
Liposuction which comes within the realms of cosmetic surgery is the best option when one wants to avoid the appearance of a scar. In this procedure, a local anesthesia is used. A needle is inserted into the tumor and the fatty tissue is removed. Recovery from the procedure is quick and usually painless, however, it is difficult to remove the entire tumor through this technique.
The third option is lipoma surgery. The non-surgical procedures are good for the small ones as they may not be helpful in removing the large ones entirely. For the larger ones, surgery is required. Moreover, some of them become infected, ooze pus, are painful or restrict movement. In such cases, surgical removal is the only option, and is a pretty simple procedure. It is done on an outpatient basis, that is, the patient does not need to stay overnight. The first step is to inject a local anesthetic. Then a small incision is made on the skin and the tissue is removed. The wound is then stitched back. The whole procedure does not take more than 20 minutes. The patient is usually allowed to go after 90 minutes. However, in some rare circumstances general anesthesia may be used.
Although a simple surgical procedure, in case the lipoma has grown inwards, the case could present some complications. Though rare, complications due to surgery include, site infection, injury to muscles or blood vessels. It is best to get the best doctor as inexperienced hands could pose a threat of injuring nerves in and around the area of treatment.
Cost of the Surgery
The cost depends much on the number of such lumps to be removed and also on the complexity of the procedure. The cost may vary according to the location and from hospital to hospital, depending on the size of the hospital. It is worthwhile to note that lipoma removal costs are not always covered by one's insurance. In case it is for medical reasons, as certified by your physician, it may be covered by your insurance provider. However, if it is merely due to cosmetic reasons, it is best not to depend on insurance.
Lipomas usually develop in the subcutaneous tissues of the head, neck, shoulders, thighs, legs and back. Although any person, at any age can have a lipoma, generally, people belonging to the age group 40-60 are more prone. The reason why lipomas are caused is not yet clearly understood. Normally, they are asymptomatic. They grow slowly and do not cause pain and discomfort. In most cases, they do not cause any problem to the individual. So, usually, a lipoma does not require any treatment. As explained above, lipoma removal procedures are usually simple. Although recurrence is rare, incomplete excision may lead to recurrence. So, in order to get the best results, be sure that you have the best physician to carry out the procedure.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.