What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a benign (i.e. non-cancerous), mass that usually occurs between the skin and the muscle layers. Lipomas are made up of fatty tissue, enclosed in a capsule of connective tissue. They grow slowly and are not painful to the touch.
How do they happen?
Most doctors think that lipoma formation results from a genetic predisposition to form the fatty masses. There is a theory that trauma may, rarely trigger lipoma formation, but this has not been proven.
How do I know my mass is a lipoma?
Lipomas are soft, non painful masses that can be moved around under the skin, as opposed to other kinds of masses like sebaceous cysts which are tethered to the underlying tissues and are not as mobile. Lipomas are not red or painful, like an infection or abscess.
Are lipomas dangerous?
No. They do not turn into cancer. However, they do grow and can become unsightly or uncomfortable.
What is the treatment?
There is no medical reason to remove lipomas because the possibility of the mass transforming into cancer is extremely tiny. Lipomas are usually removed for cosmetic reasons. Surgical excision is the best way to remove the lipoma and as long as the mass comes out entirely, the chances of it re-growing are slim to none.
Why Dr. Rivkin?
Dr. Rivkin is a trained, expert head and neck surgeon. He has excised hundreds of lipomas during his career and he knows how to minimize the appearance of the surgical scar. Meticulous closure and attention to detail during the excision process pays off with a cosmetically flawless result. In the majority of cases, the scar should be nearly undetectable.
What should you do before the lipoma removal?
- We recommend that you discontinue blood thinning supplements like st. john’s wort and fish oil for 1 week before the procedure.
- If you are taking aspirin and your doctor permits you to discontinue it for 3 days prior to the procedure, that would be helpful.
- Do not drink alcohol the night before the lipoma removal.
- Please let us know if you are allergic to lidocaine or other numbing medication.
- If you are a smoker, you would greatly benefit the healing process by refraining from cigarettes for a couple of weeks before and after the surgery.
What to expect from the procedure?
When you come in, Dr. Rivkin will inject the area with lidocaine so that you feel no discomfort. We will clean the area and put sterile drapes around it. The excision itself will take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the lipoma. Dr. Rivkin prefers to use dissolvable sutures that do not need removal. If he decides to use non dissolvable sutures, you will need to have these sutures removed about a week after the procedure.
What is the aftercare for lipoma removal?
After your procedure, we recommend that you keep the area clean and dry. You can shower the day after surgery, but place some plastic wrap over the incision to make sure it stays dry. Two days after surgery, wash the wound carefully with mild soap and dry it afterwards. We will give you some antibacterial ointment to keep on the wound for 2 to 3 days. If you feel pain, we recommend that you take Tylenol, but not aspirin or ibuprofen. Dr. Rivkin will let you know when you should come back for a re-check to make sure that your wound is healing properly.