Lipoma Removal Cost


Written by:  Howmuchisit.org Staff
Last Updated:  August 24, 2018

Lipomas are said to be the most common lumps on the human body, and while they can occur just about anywhere on the body, they are commonly found on the armpits, neck and shoulders, rarely forming in the muscles or internal organs, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Described sort of like a rubbery-like bulge, lipomas will grow slowly, often over a period of years and are usually smaller than two inches, with the exception of larger lipomas that can grow as large as eight inches.

While they are commonly considered benign, meaning it isn’t cancerous and will not develop into any type of cancer in the future, there is a rare cancer, known as liposarcoma, which may occur within the fatty tissue, requiring a biopsy and even removal.

Lipoma Removal Cost
Pleural lipoma – Chest X-ray Case 197” (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Pulmonary Pathology

How much does lipoma removal cost?

The costs of a lipoma removal will depend on a variety of factors, including the type of facility (hospital vs. outpatient), the size of the lipoma, your geographical region, the type of anesthesia provider, the doctor you hire (credentials/experience level) and if you have insurance coverage.

Based on these factors, with the size often being the biggest, and from the research we found, the costs seemed to range anywhere from $500 to $1,650+ under a local anesthesia without any health insurance coverage, with the smallest lipomas, often less than two centimeters, being less than $600, whereas larger lipomas, often larger than five centimeters, could cost more than $700.

Multiple lipomas, if excised at the same time, can cost much more, but usually, a fraction of the cost of each subsequent lipoma removed.

The costs of lipoma removal, according to Steven H. Williams, MD via Realself.com, for example, noted that his practice in San Francisco would charge $1,500, but the costs would ultimately depend on the lipoma’s location, the depth and the size of the mass.  He also noted that insurance, in most cases, should cover the procedure, especially if it’s deemed a single isolated lipoma, but the main concern is whether or not the unknown mass is truly a lipoma.

Another doctor on that same Realself thread, Timothy Mountcastle, MD, stated the costs of contracted rates through insurance companies are often $400 to $500 for a mass less than 5 centimeters to $750 to $1,000 for a mass larger than five centimeters if located on the body.  However, in the case of multiple lipomas during one session, each subsequent lipoma will pay half of the original lipoma removal.

Does insurance cover it?

As for insurance coverage, most of the time, from the doctors who did share their thoughts, said the procedure should be covered as long as it’s medically necessary and is considered a lipoma since a lump inside of the skin doesn’t always mean it’s a lipoma.  As there are so many health insurance policies out there with varying inclusions, be sure to talk with your health insurance company to know if your policy will cover it, and if so, what you will be responsible for if you choose an in network doctor.

Factors that affect the price

How is a lipoma diagnosed?

According to the Cleveland Clinic, a doctor can often diagnose a lipoma with a routine physical examination; however, in the case of a larger-than-average lipoma, then your doctor will order a test, usually, a biopsy, MRI or CT scan, to make sure the lipoma isn’t cancerous.  A biopsy will remove a small piece of fatty tissue from the lipoma and sent off to a lab to be examined under a microscope, while an MRI or CT scan will take detailed pictures from different angles to determine the best treatment option.

Treatment

In a lot of cases, your doctor will recommend leaving the lipoma alone, simply recommending that you watch its growth occasionally to see if anything changes.  If the doctor is concerned about the location or in the case the patient doesn’t like the appearance, then a treatment plan will be created, often via a liposuction or simple incision-like procedure.

During the procedure, lipomas, being self-contained most of the time, are usually squeezed out via a small incision cut in the area of the lipoma since they do not invade the surrounding muscles most of the time.  However, if liposuction is needed, then an incision is made in the lipoma, followed by the doctor inserting a thin, hollow tube to help loosen the fat and vacuum it via a tube.  The liposuction procedure is usually recommended for larger-than-average lipomas since the rate of recurrence if the procedure is used, is much greater than if the doctor simply extracts it via an incision.

Most patients are under a local anesthesia and will go home the same day, with the average procedure, depending on the size, taking no more than one hour.  To learn more about the procedure in detail, visit AAFP.org.

Recovery

Seeing it’s an outpatient procedure most of the time, the recovery period is relatively quick, often allowing a patient to return to work in less than 24 hours.  This recovery period, however, depends on the size and location of the lipoma, as well as the surgical procedure and type of anesthesia used.  Your surgeon, before the surgery begins, will have aftercare instructions and how long your recovery period should be.

Tips to know

Doctors highly recommend you choose a doctor that is board certified via the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.   To find one, you can use the official doctor search tool at PlasticSurgery.org.


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