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Lipoma removal Questions & Answers - Kare Plastic Surgery - Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian

What does a lipoma look like?

The development of lipomas can occur on any part of the body and often present as a small nodule or bump under the skin.  However, an experienced plastic surgeon or physician should examine the particular nodule to determine whether there is a likelihood of lipoma growth versus another type of tumor.  Lipomas have no malignant potential and are often safe to remove in the early stage or growth.  If the lipoma has shown a progression, it is prudent to perform early surgical removal of the lipoma to prevent any major surgical scarring.  A typical lipoma looks like a small nodule under the skin and can occur on the arms and legs, abdomen and back or scalp.  There are many other problems that can appear very similar to a lipoma, including a subcutaneous cyst. 


What are options for lipoma removal without surgery?

A lipoma is a benign growth of fat cells under the skin that can take months or years or develop.  Once a lipoma is noticed, it can have a slow growth phase or a fast growth phase depending on its unique characteristics.  Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian is an expert in lipoma removal and lipoma surgery using minimally invasive techniques including small incisions and minimized surgical dissection.  The options for lipoma removal include surgery and observation.  At this point in time, there are no nonsurgical options for lipoma removal that have become the standard of medical care.  The surgery for lipoma is usually performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia and minimal surgical dissection.  Dr. Karamanoukian can remove lipomas from the face, particularly on the forehead and scalp and the body and trunk.  The most common areas for lipoma growth are the arms and legs, abdomen, and forehead. 


Can multiple lipomas be removed?

It is unclear what causes a lipoma in the first place, but family history and genetic factors may predispose patients to multiple lipoma development.  Often, multiple lipomas can progress at varying intervals and rates.  Some lipomas may increase steadily overtime while others can present with rapid onset and development.  Multiple lipomas on the body and extremities can be removed using minimal surgery in order to decrease scarring and trauma to the skin.  Lipomas can be prioritized in terms of removal, wherein larger and more symptomatic lipomas are prioritized over slow growing and barely noticeable lipomas.

Dr. Karamanoukian is a board certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles and can provide you with many options for lipoma removal during your consultation.  His primary goal for lipoma treatment is to minimize scarring and to reduce the chance of recurrence.  Consultation with Dr. Karamanoukian will include an examination and full exploration of available surgical options.  Lipomas can occur on the body as well as the scalp and face.


How is scarring with lipoma removal?

The extent of scarring with a lipoma removal surgery depends on the technique used for the initial incision as well as closure.  Different parts of the body will respond differently to an incision, wherein incisions on the joints and dynamic areas usually have more tension and thus have a more noticeable scarring.  During your consultation for lipoma surgery in Los Angeles with Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian, he will explore your options for surgery and scarring with your lipoma surgery.  There are many options and techniques used by Dr. Karamanoukian, a board certified plastic surgeon in Los Angeles to remove your lipoma with minimal scarring.  These techniques include pre and post operative skin treatments, laser treatment, and specific suturing techniques to minimize surgical attention and scarring.  Lipoma removal is often performed on an outpatient basis in an ambulatory surgery center and can be performed with minimal anesthesia or pain.


Should I be concerned if a lipoma is painful?

A lipoma can only be diagnosed by a pathologist once the specimen is removed and examined under the microscope.  Most subcutaneous nodules under the skin are lipomas and present no danger to a patient.  However lipomas can often involve dissemination into and around nerves causing pain and discomfort.  In addition specific changes in lipomas can cause pain and discomfort.  The first step in recognizing the dangers of the lipoma is to schedule a consultation with an experienced plastic surgeon who is knowledgeable about lipomas and lipoma removal.  Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian is a specialist in lipoma removal and cosmetic plastic surgery and can help you identify whether the nodule under your skin is a lipoma or another type of growth.  The presence of pain is an indication that the growth under the skin may be causing infringement of adjacent structures. 


Can trauma cause lipomas to growth?

It is unclear why patients develop lipomas on the extremities and scalp.  However it is thought that trauma and genetic influences can cause formation of lipomas and elicit growth in the subcutaneous adipose tissue.  Lipomas are fatty tumors that can occur on any part of the body, but more commonly along the arms and legs, abdomen, and scalp.  Forehead lipomas are often seen and can be removed without incident.  Trauma is associated with lipomas, but the main stay of treatment is proper diagnosis and surgery.  Dr. Karamanoukian performs minimally invasive removal of lipomas using precise and meticulous surgical technique.  If you are concerned about a lipoma and wish to have it removed, Dr. Karamanoukian can evaluate you growth and determine whether surgery or observation is the correct option.


Can a forehead lipoma be removed through a scalp or hairline incision?

Lipomas can occur on any part of the body and are often seen along the forehead and hairline.  The most common reasons to undergo lipoma removal include increase growth and noticeability.  Dr. Karamanoukian is a board certified plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic plastic surgery and lipoma removal.  He emphasizes minimal scarring and can often direct an incision in a less noticeable area such as the hairline or scalp in order to remove the lipoma safely.  The benefits of minimal scar lipoma removal include less noticeability of the scar. 


Can lipomas recur or come back with time?

The recurrence of a lipoma is a possibility, even after extensive surgery.  This may occur because small amount of fatty cells can proliferate and cause recurrence of the lipoma.  The benefits of lipoma removal in the early stage of growth include a higher chance for complete excision, thereby decreasing the chance for recurrence of the lipoma.  In the early stages of growth, lipomas can be easily removed using small incisions, as they do not involve the surrounding tissue.  Once a lipoma begins to grow steadily, there may be involvements of underlying muscle or fascia, nerves, and blood vessels, leading to a higher chance of recurrence. 


If you have questions about lipoma removal or concerned about a lipomatous growth on your body or face, please call our Los Angeles plastic surgery patient care coordinator at 310-998-5533.  Our office will help you schedule a consultation with premier plastic surgeon Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian in our Los Angeles office.  Dr. Karamanoukian performs plastic surgery in both Santa Monica and Beverly Hills.

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