lipomaLipomas are fatty tumors that are often located in the subcutaneous tissues (just below the skin) of the upper body, arms and thighs. Lipomas most commonly occur in middle-age but can be present at any age. These slow-growing, nearly always benign, tumors are usually non-painful, round, mobile masses with a characteristic soft, rubbery feel. They are very common and occur in about 1 of every 1,000 people. Most lipomas are best left alone, but rapidly growing or painful lipomas can be treated with a variety of procedures ranging from steroid injections to excision of the tumor.


Surgical removal of a lipoma is indicated if it is painful, increasing in size or for cosmetic reasons.

Pre-Op Evaluation and Prep: 

Patients will have a physical exam by the surgeon to discuss symptoms and determine if surgery is needed. Routine blood work is usually not needed but may be ordered prior to surgery based on the patient's age and the presence of any existing medical problems.

You may be instructed to stop taking some medications before surgery. Make sure your surgeon knows all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including natural or nutritional supplements. For more information related to preparation for surgery click here.


Lipoma removal may be performed under general anesthesia or sedation depending on the size and location of the tumor. The surgeon will make an incision on the skin above or near the lipoma and remove the tumor after injecting local anesthetic (numbing medicine) in the area. Once removed, the skin will be sutured closed and covered with steri-strips and a gauze dressing or surgical glue. If you have more than one lipoma, they can often all be removed during the same visit.


This varies from patient to patient and with the size and location of the lipoma(s). Many patients return to desk type work the next day. You will probably not have any lifting restrictions. More strenuous jobs, such as those requiring heavy lifting, may not be feasible for a week or so depending upon the size and location of the lipoma.  It is rare for patients to need extended time off of work.

While recovery instructions may be tailored to individualize a plan of care based upon your specific needs, these instructions are common following lipoma removal surgery:

  • You will need to arrange for a ride home the day of your surgery and we recommend someone stay with you for the first 24 hours at home.
  • When you leave the facility after surgery, we will want you to go home and rest. Avoid making any other plans on the day of your surgery. Starting the following day, you can increase your activity as you feel up to it.
  • Avoid fried foods, milk products and citrus juices for around one day after your surgery. Suggestions for foods to eat include soup, sandwich, pasta, potatoes, toast, and applesauce.  
  • The dressings applied to your surgical site will be specific to the location of your procedure. If surgical glue is used, there will be no dressings to remove. If bandages are applied, they can usually be removed at home in 24-48 hours. You will receive care instructions specific to your procedure.
  • You may shower within a day or two after your surgery, but will need to avoid soaking in a tub or pool for around 1 week.
  • You will likely be given a prescription for pain medication following your surgery. The recovery nurse will discuss a pain control plan following surgery specific to you and your needs including activities like ice applied over incisions and a medication regimen. Often times we will recommend taking Tylenol and Advil (same as Motrin, Ibuprofen) or Aleve in addition to the narcotic pain medication.
  • It is often suggested to start taking a stool softener twice daily the day following your procedure. You will want to continue this regimen as long as you are taking narcotic pain medications.

For additional information for after surgery preparation click here.

To Schedule an Appointment

To find out more about Lipoma Removal services offered at CSA Surgical Center in Columbia, Missouri, please call Columbia Surgical Associates at 573-443-8773 and schedule an appointment.

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