Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Can Lipomas Be Treated Without Surgery?

Friday, 30 April 2010 10:23 AM

Question: What can you tell me about treating lipomas without using surgery? How can they be prevented? What causes them?

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:

Benign lipomas are growths of fatty tissue that are soft, easily depressible, and painless. They are usually removed for cosmetic reasons, since it's very rare for them to become malignant, and they appear to be determined by genetics.

There are no non-surgical removal options that I recommend, mainly because of poor cosmetic results and the possibility that — more often than not — some remaining tissue will regrow.

Lipomas may become infected, requiring drainage, and this occasionally wipes out the lining. If properly removed by the surgeon, they will not regrow, but if you wait for an infection, you will undoubtedly be left with a large scar that is often depressed.

If a lipoma is painful, it is either infected or — very rarely — may be a cancerous form called a liposarcoma. Liposarcomas grow rapidly, are usually painful, and metastasize rapidly. They are usually fixed and firm and not very movable. They should be removed immediately.

Lipomas are best and most efficiently removed by surgical excision.

© HealthDay

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