Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Should my lipoma be removed?"
I am a 24 year old female who has a small lipoma on my left arm. I noticed the lipoma for the first time about a year ago. If I extend my arm out straight in front of me (palm up) it is located at the bend of my arm on the right side. I have seen two different doctors about my lipoma and both said to just leave it alone, that it would be fine. However, I can't help but be concerned. My doctor does not want to remove the lipoma because of its location. He said that it is close to many veins and just beside it is a large/main one. I don't have any problems as of now, other than my arm "falling asleep". But I would like to know your thoughts on removal.
Lipomas are benign growths of fatty tissue that develop under the skin. Sometimes there is a genetic disposition to them, and often people who have one lipoma will develop others as well. Fortunately, there is virtually no danger of a lipoma turning into cancer, so often they can be left alone, as your previous doctors have suggested. The main reasons for removing a lipoma is for cosmetic reasons, for example if the appearance of it bothers you. Also, sometimes lipomas continue to grow and can become uncomfortable because they brush against clothing or are easily knocked on furniture and other objects; this would be another reason to consider removal. Generally, removal of the lipoma is quite straightforward. Usually, it can be done in the doctor's office with just some local numbing medication injected into the skin at the site. Many doctors are capable of taking off lipomas, however if the lipoma is located in a sensitive area, such as close to blood vessels or delicate structures (as you were told by your doctor), then removal may require referral to a surgeon. If you have decided that removal is the right option for you, then you should talk to your primary care doctor who may perform the removal themselves or may make a referral for you.
Need more info?See a doctor today
Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.