Can My Back Lipoma Be Removed Without Leaving A Bad Scar?

Q:   I have a lipoma on my upper back that I would like removed. I would like to do so with minimal scarring as my wedding is coming up. Does your office perform any type of procedure that can remove it without noticeable scarring? What would the procedure cost? I am not sure if insurance would cover the procedure. Thank you for letting me know.

A: The benign fatty tumor, known as a lipoma, is a common mass that many people develop. The traditional method of removal is to have it cut out or excised. While effective and offering the best chance of a cure (no recurrence), it can leave a noticeable scar and even an indentation afterwards if it is of any size. I have found that scar concerns from open excision of lipomas are of a particular worry in women when they are about the shoulder, neck and back. Scars in these areas, no matter how well they are sutured together never end up as just a fine line…they always widen and often remain red for a long time.

Given that lipomas are benign growths and may or may not continue to grow, the trade-off of a wide scar may not be acceptable. An alternative method of lipoma removal is with liposuction. Using a very small cannula, the lipoma may be reduced or debulked by aspiration. Notice that I did not use the word, excise, or completely remove. Removing every last fat cell in the lipoma is not possible with liposuction so there is an increased risk of regrowth over time. That is the potential trade-off for a minimal scar procedure.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana