Physicians can surgically cut out a problematic lipoma or use liposuction to extract the growth with a syringe, according to the Mayo Clinic. Doctors can also use steroid injections to induce shrinkage when complete removal isn't necessary.
Surgery may be performed in an outpatient or inpatient setting, depending on the location of the growth and how easily a physician can reach it, WebMD states. In most cases, the patient is given a local anesthetic to numb the surrounding tissue, and a doctor carefully makes an incision into the skin. Once the tumor is cut out, the skin is closed with stitches.
Lipomas are benign growths made up of soft, fatty tissue, according to WebMD. They form in almost any region of the body, especially the armpits, neck, thighs and torso. Lipomas are usually harmless and left untreated, unless the growth becomes painful, infected, excessively large or obstructive. Patients may also want lipomas removed if they leak foul-smelling fluid or are viewed as cosmetically unpleasant. They are not cancerous, but they appear to be hereditary.
Lipomas usually have a rubbery or malleable texture and can be felt just below the outer layer of skin, the Mayo Clinic states. Growths that don't trigger symptoms are usually 2 inches or smaller in size, whereas larger lipomas can expand until they put pressure on sensitive nerves and blood vessels.