What is a lipoma?
A lipoma is a lump in the fat layer under the skin that occurs due to an overgrowth of fat cells. Lipomas are benign tumours, which means that they are non-cancerous growths. Often, they run in families, and they can be multiple.
Sometimes lipomas can cause pain, complications, or other symptoms but mostly lipomas are removed because of concerns about their cosmetic appearance.
Lipomas can occur anywhere on the body where fat cells are present, but they tend to appear on the shoulders, chest, trunk, neck, thighs, and armpits.
Lipomas feel soft and may move slightly under the skin when people press down on them. They usually grow slowly over a period of months or years and typically reach a size of around 2-3 cm, but occasionally people have giant lipomas which can grow to more than 10 cm.
What should I do if I think I have a lipoma?
Although lipomas are benign It is important not to self-diagnose, a consultation is important to exclude other more serious lesions.
How can you remove a lipoma?
If a lipoma is not causing any symptoms then there is no medical reason to remove it. However, most are removed for cosmetic reasons, particularly if they are large or multiple, as they often are.
It is safe to remove a lipoma?
There are two common ways of removing lipomas, one is medical and the other is surgical. Medical removal is by dissolving the fat cells with a treatment called Lipolysis (literally translated means “fat dissolving”). Lipolysis is carried out by injecting a solution of fat-digesting enzymes directly into the lipoma, these enzymes will then do what they are designed to do and that is to digest (dissolve) the fat cells over a period of time, usually 8-10 weeks. These enzymes are specific for fat cells and will not affect other tissue. We have used this treatment safely at GMC Clinics since 2004. Smaller lipomas usually only require a single treatment, larger ones may require more. It is a comfortable procedure and no anaesthetic is required. The lipoma dissolves progressively without any signs of scarring. It is particularly useful when there are many lipomas needing to be removed as you can avoid having multiple excision scars.
There are two surgical options, liposuction and excision, both can be carried out comfortably with just local anaesthetic. With liposuction, the fat cells are progressively suctioned out through a fine cannula (tube) which is inserted through the skin via a small 3 mm incision. The advantage of this is that the lipoma is removed on the day and there is only a tiny 3 mm cannula mark left behind. Liposuction is only appropriate for larger lipomas.
With surgical excision there is a cut through the skin to get to the lipoma which is then removed neatly in its entirety through the incision, leaving behind an incision scar which is usually much smaller than the dimension of the lipoma itself. Excision can be used for lipomas of all sizes.
What are the costs?
Understandably, this will vary greatly according to the size, number and location of the lipomas.
Costs start at $390 for excision or lipolysis of a single small lipoma in a readily accessible area. This cost reduces when treating multiple lipomas.
The cost of liposuction will vary significantly according to the size and location of the lipoma and will be discussed in detail at the consultation assessment.
Lipoma Removal, Sydney
For more information on our range of cosmetic treatments and services, please contact our Randwick Surgery on 02 9399 6444 or our Narellan Surgery on 02 4627 2000 or contact us online.
Disclaimer: Individual results may vary. Surgery and all health regulated services may carry some risks which you can discuss with our doctor.