In my last blog, I talked about lipomas and what they are. These “fatty tumors” are usually solitary and usually not dangerous (not cancer). So what should be done about them?

If you have what you think is a lipoma, it would be a good idea to see a doctor to confirm your suspicions. As I said last time, sometimes it’s difficult to know whether you have a skin cyst ( a walled-in keratin sac made popular by Dr. Pimple Popper) or a lipoma, but neither are particularly emergent unless the cyst has become an abscess. Lipomas are not going to abscess but they do grow over time. I have seen some whoppers in my 30+ years of being a surgeon, many of them you could easily “see” right through their shirt.

It’s size that usually brings people to my door:  When they get big (we’re talking 4-5 inches in diameter or larger) most surgeons want to remove them in the Operating Room where general anesthesia can make the whole process easier and faster… but certainly NOT cheaper! If you go to the OR, the cost to the patient skyrockets! If you have the time and the place to remove these lipomas under local anesthesia, it becomes amazingly affordable. (See

I recommend that large lipomas be removed surgically. There is a procedure described where lipomas are injected with a lipid-disolving chemical (I am not a fan) or a liposuction technique has also been described (again, not a believer). Do all lipomas need to be removed? Nope. Are they ever cancers? Yes, but they are rare. So how do you know whether to live with it or have the darn thing out? Next time…