Skin lipoma

What is skin lipoma surgery?

The most common way of treating the lipoma is removing it through surgery. While smaller lipomas are removed by enucleation, larger lipomas are excised.

Enucleation is performed if your lipoma is very small. In enucleation, your surgeon removes the lipoma from the surrounding tissues via a small incision. The lipoma is there enucleated. As the incision is very small, sutures are not required and your wound is simply covered with a pressure dressing.

Excision is performed if your lipoma is large. In excision, your surgeon removes the lipoma and a margin of surrounding tissues via a few larger incisions over the lipoma. Through the opening, he or she starts to dissect through the subcutaneous fat using a scalpel to reach the tumour underneath while avoiding the blood vessels and nerves in that area. The incision is later closed with sutures.

The surgery can be done in the doctor’s office or as an outpatient procedure. This procedure is carried out under local anaesthesia in most cases, except in cases where the lipoma is in an area that is not easily accessible through a simple incision through your skin. In such cases, you may have to be in an operating room where the lipoma is removed under general anaesthesia.

What to expect?

Before the surgery

  • Your doctor may advise you to stop your medications for a few weeks before the procedure. This is because some medications may increase a person’s chances of bleeding.
  • Cut off smoking and alcohol before the procedure.
  • Do not apply any cosmetics, lotions, deodorant or medicines to the affected area before the procedure.
  • Fast as instructed before the procedure.

During the surgery

Your surgeon will give you an injection for local anaesthesia around the lipoma.
The procedure is usually completed within 15 minutes.

In enucleation:

  • Your surgeon makes a small incision of three to four milimetres in the skin over your lipoma.
  • A curette is used to separate the lipoma from the surrounding normal tissue.
  • The lipoma is completely removed.
  • A pressure dressing is used to cover the wound.

In excision:

  • Your surgeon makes a few incisions in the skin over your lipoma.
  • A light pull is applied to the flap of skin created by the incisions and your surgeon cuts off the lipoma from the surrounding normal tissue.
  • The resulting tissue space is closed with absorbable suture material.
  • Your skin is closed using non-absorbable sutures.

After the procedure

  • You may be discharged on the day of the procedure.
  • You may be required to use sanitary napkins for the bleeding for a week or so.
  • Use a heat pad or warm compress to relieve the pain from the incision.
  • Keep the wound clean and dry. Gently wash the wound under mild soap.
  • Change the dressings on your wound after showering.
  • You may apply antibiotics ointment to cleanse your surgical wound.
  • You may resume your daily activities within a few days depending on the size and location where the lipoma was removed.
  • Skin sutures may be removed in around 1 to 2 weeks.