Lipoma removal is a common procedure in Singapore for removing benign and non-cancerous growth located in the subcutaneous/fatty tissue layer of the skin. The lump is formed by mature fat cells (adipocytes) and is enveloped/encapsulated by a fibrous tissue capsule.
Due to the location of the lipoma in the subcutaneous layer, it can often be moved around under the skin and has been referred to as a ‘skin mouse’. The skin overlying the lipoma is often normal.
Lipomas can occur on any part of the body that contains subcutaneous tissue. However, it is commoner on the torso, posterior neck and the upper extremities. It is very uncommon to develop on the scalp, and a scalp lump is usually a trichilemmal cyst rather than a lipoma.
A variant of the lipoma is an Angiolioma.
Alpine Surgical Practice is committed to practicing safe and reliable surgery to treat all lipoma issues.
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A lipoma should definitely be removed if it is causing pain or inconvenience to daily life. Examples of inconveniences include the lipoma catching on clothing or jewelry or if it is on a part of the body that easily gets impacted or knocked on.
In addition, it is definitely the choice of the individual if he/she wants to have the lipoma removed, irregardless of whether the lipoma is symptomatic
The cancerous counterpart of a lipoma is termed a Liposarcoma. It is the majority opinion of the scientific community that benign lipomas do not transform into cancerous liposarcomas. A Liposarcoma arises from the get-go as a cancerous element rather than coming through the route of transforming from a benign lipoma to a cancerous liposarcoma. The long and short of it is that a benign lipoma is very unlikely to turn cancerous.
However, the difficulty is determining whether a lump of lipoma is benign or cancerous and therefore warrants removal for further assessment. Some symptoms and signs pointing to a more worrying cause include:
As a general rule, if there is any doubt or if the individual wishes to have a peace of mind, an excision of the lipoma is warranted. You could speak to our friendly doctor here too!
The surgery can be carried out under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. The choice of anesthesia depends on the size and location of the lipoma.
For procedures carried out under local anesthesia, an injection of the local anesthetic drug will be performed around the lipoma under sterile conditions. The local anesthesia will take about 3-5min to achieve its full effect and allow the surgery to be carried out with minimal pain. An incision on the skin will then be made over the lipoma and the lipoma will be freed from the surrounding tissues and extracted from the incision. The incision is usually smaller than the size of the lipoma but yet allows the safe extraction of the lipoma. Lipomas on the upper extremities and torso (with the exclusion of the posterior neck region) are usually smaller in size and located relatively superficially and can hence be removed under local anesthesia.
Larger and deep seated lipomas are removed under general anesthesia and these are usually in the posterior neck, buttock, groin and upper thigh regions. The operative procedure is otherwise similar to that carried out under local anesthesia.
The incisions will usually be stitched up with buried absorbable sutures and hence avoiding the need for a repeat visit for removal of the stitches. The incisions will usually unite and heal in about 2 weeks.
Lipoma removal surgery is a very safe surgery. The main risks pertain to wound infection, bruising, seroma formation (accumulation of fluid in the ex-lipoma site) and scarring. Wound infection risk should vary 1-3% with the majority treated with antibiotics. Seroma formation is usually of no major consequence as the fluid is reabsorbed back into the body over a period of 1-2 weeks. Scar formation can be reduced, particularly over scar-prone areas with combination of anti-scarring cream and anti-scarring dressings.