What are the indications for lipomas removal?

Updated: Mar 26, 2020
  • Author: Todd A Nickloes, DO, FACOS; Chief Editor: John Geibel, MD, MSc, DSc, AGAF  more...
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Lipomas are removed for the following reasons:

  • Cosmetic reasons
  • To evaluate their histology, particularly when liposarcomas must be ruled out
  • When they cause symptoms
  • When they grow and become larger than 5 cm

Obtain biopsies of large lipomas or of those tethered to fascia to rule out a liposarcoma.

No contraindications for removing a lipoma exist, unless the patient is unfit for surgery or anatomic location makes removal unfeasible (as in the case, for example, of an intraspinal lipoma). Benign lipomas are simply "shelled out," with complete removal of the capsule in an extracapsular plane. This is an inadequate operation for a liposarcoma, and hence, performing an initial biopsy to exclude this lesion may be considered for large fatty tumors or for those in the retroperitoneum or the intramuscular spaces.

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