Lipoma is a tumor. A tumor means abnormal growth, but it does not mean all tumors are cancerous. Tumors can be benign or malignant.
A lipoma is abnormal, excess, growth of normal fat cells, and can occur anywhere in the body.
Some patients have multiple lipomas throughout their body. In some cases this may be genetic, but usually occurs sporadically. In these cases, it is important to differentiate between multiple lipomas and neurofibromatosis, which is abnormal growth of peripheral nerve cells. This distinction is important, since neurofibromatosis can involve other systems in the body and sometimes these tumors can become malignant. This is typically a clinical diagnosis, since lipomas feel much softer and are more mobile.
The definitive treatment for a lipoma is surgical removal. It is important to completely remove the lipoma, to minimize risk of recurrence. Fortunately, lipomas have a “shell” around them and the lipoma can be expressed from the incision like a seed from a fruit. There is, however, always a small chance of recurrence or development of new lipomas in surrounding areas.
I have enclosed before and after photos of a patient with multiple lipomas of the upper extremity. A total of seven lipomas were removed. As the after photos shows, the lipomas are lumped together and are removed as one piece. I always remove a small amount of fat around the lipoma, hoping to remove any “lipoma” cell which may be next to the lipoma.
The procedure can be performed under local anesthesia in the office.
Michael A. Jazayeri, M.D. is a board certified plastic surgeon with over 12 years of experience. His office is located in Orange County, California. To schedule a complimentary consultation, please call (714) 834-0101.
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