Lipomas are benign growths of fat under the skin. Unlike subcutaneous fat which helps to insulate our skin from the extreme temperatures of heat and cold, lipomas occur in small bundles encased in a fibrous sheath. There is minimal cancerous potential for a lipoma, but prompt medical intervention is often needed if symptoms of pain or discomfort due occur because other more dangerous tumors may look like a lipoma. If you are having problems associated with your 'lipoma' or you feel that an examination and biopsy is needed, schedule a consultation with Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian to discuss your options for lipoma removal in Los Angeles.
Click Here to Read Frequently Asked Questions about Lipomas
If you feel that you may have a lipoma, the only way to truly tell if it is a lipoma would be for the mass to be examined under the microscope. As a matter of protocol, once your surgery is complete, Dr. Karamanoukian will process the specimen and send it to a dermatopathologist who can then examine the tissue under a microscope and determine if it is a lipoma or another type of adipose tumor. The pathologist examination of the lipoma is important to determine what the lipoma actually looks like from a cellular and tissue level, which will help Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian determine whether there is a need for any additional treatments for your lipoma after your initial procedure.
On your first examination and consultation, Dr. Karamanoukian and PA Kelly Cummings will obtain a complete medical history and evaluate your lipoma to determine whether it requires removal. In most cases, external examination and palpation will determine whether there is a high likelihood that the mass is a lipoma vs. a cyst. In rare cases, a mass can be a more dangerous tumor such as a sarcoma. Once the consultation is complete, Dr. Karamanoukian will provide you with details regarding surgery. Your preoperative and postoperative regimen will be discussed, including ways to minimize scarring and recovery time.
Patients who have a history of bruising after trauma, injections, or surgery may benefit from a 5 day course of a popular homeopathic remedy containing Arnica in a standardized pre-surgery dose. Our office recommends the Bruise-Pak chewable tablets as they deliver an effective dose of Arnica prior to your lipoma surgery. The Bruise-Pak can be obtained from our plastic surgery patient care coordinator during your initial consultation.
LIPOMAS ON THE ARMS AND LEGS:
Lipomas are common on the extremities, including the arms and legs. Researchers believe that the development of lipomas are likely due to trauma or injury to the soft tissue at some point in life. Once the lipomatous mass begins to grow to a certain size, it becomes more noticeable and begins to stand out from the surrounding tissue. The most common areas to develop lipomas are the arms and thighs, although they can occur anywhere on the body surface. Some masses on the body that are thought to be lipomas may actually be cysts or tumors. That being the case, it is always prudent to consult with an experienced and board certified plastic surgeon who can make the correct diagnosis prior to your surgery date.
LIPOMAS ON THE BREAST:
Although lipomas can occur on any part of the body, the presence of a subcutaneous mass on a male or female breast is more concerning than a simple lipoma. Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian will examine you to see if a diagnostic procedure is needed in cases of a breast lipoma, as there is a small risk of a benign or malignant tumor other than lipoma being present. Lipomas are benign tumors of adipocyte or fatty tumors and have minimal risk of malignancy, however, they are not common on the breast. Upon initial presentation of a lump or nodule under the breast skin, immediate attention is required and this may involve simple excisional biopsy, ultrasound, mammography, or MRI. Most of these breast tumors will be benign, but diagnostic examination is crucial.
Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian works closely with radiologists and breast specialists and will provide you with expertise in the management of benign or malignant breast masses. This requires meticulous attention to detail and a systematic approach to your problem in order to minimize scarring and maximize diagnostic accuracy. Dr. Karamanoukian can also help manage surgical scars resulting from breast surgery using a combination of lasers and surgical scar revision. Scars on the breast can be minimized and made less apparent.
QUESTIONS ABOUT LIPOMAS AND LIPOMA REMOVAL:
- What is a lipoma? A lipoma is a benign (non-cancerous) growth of fat under the skin that can create a little bump that is sometimes tender and bothersome. The diagnosis of lipoma cannot always be made by looking at the skin, but can only be made by a pathologist after he or she examines the lipoma under a microscope. Lipomas are common and should not be confused with malignant tumors that occur under the skin. Most commonly, a lipoma is thought of as a benign lump of fatty growth that is encased in a very thin fibrous shell. The most common areas for lipoma growth are immediately underneath the skin.
- Do I need an MRI to diagnose a lipoma? No, not in most cases of lipoma. Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, can remove your lipoma if on examination, it meets common criteria for a lipoma. The removed lipoma will be sent to Dr. Karamanoukian's dermatopathologist, who can expertly diagnose the lipoma and report back to Dr. Karamanoukian. If a lipoma is complex, an MRI is ordered on a case by case basis. Most lipomas are removed as an outpatient procedure.
- Is a lipoma the same as a liposarcoma? No. A lipoma is a benign (non-cancerous) fatty tumor whereas a liposarcoma is a cancerous growth that may initially resemble a lipoma. A pathologist will help determine the correct diagnosis of a lipoma after your plastic surgery procedure when he examines the lipoma under a microscope.
- What are the risk factors for lipoma growth? Scientists haven't completely understood the risk factors for growth of lipomas. It is thought that there may be a genetic link, as there are family conditions that cause multiple lipomas to form. Dr. Karamanoukian can evaluate your history to determine whether you have a familial type of lipomatosis. Familial multiple lipomatosis is usually genetically linked with the occurence of multiple encapsulated lipomas throughout the body. The lipomas can be large and may often occur as a result of trauma. The most common treatment for familial lipomatosis is surgical excision. If you have multiple, even in the hundreds, of lipomas, Dr. Karamanoukian can provide you with expertise in consultation and treatment.
- Are there symptoms associated with lipomas? Most patients with lipomas have no symptoms other than the occurence of a benign lump under the skin. If you have pain associated with your lipomas, you should consider obtaining a medical consultation for evaluation.
- Can lipomas involve nerves? Some lipomas can encase a delicate nerve causing pain and discomfort. Most lipomas are painless and the presence of pain should be identified and explored further by a surgeon. Dr. Karamanoukian will perform an evaluation and examination to determine the source of your pain.
- What is an angiolipoma? An angiolipoma is a benign neoplasm of the subcutaneous tissue that resembles a lipoma from the outside. It has a vascular component and is often associated with pain and discomfort. The only way we can determine if a lipoma is an angiolipoma is to send it to a pathologist for examination under the microscope.