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Notes from Consultant Surgeon Mr James Kirkby-Bott's

Lipoma Surgery: What to Expect Post Operation Advice

Bruising: It can be sore and this is generally related to the amount of bruising you have.

  • The time it takes to recover after lipoma surgery is directly related to the amount of bruising you have.

  • Local anaesthetic repairs have a quick recovery. 

Bruising can be a problem after lipoma surgery and effect the wider area around where the lump was. In the rare occurrence of a very large bruise I nearly always advice to leave it alone and wait for it to resorb by itself over time.

In addition to bruising the space left by removing the lipoma can sometimes fill with fluid - known as a seroma. This can become tense. Again the best advice is to leave it alone and allow it to resorb over time. Some people drain these with a needle but they just recur. Repeatedly draining them increases the risk of infection in the space left and the collected fluid becoming walled off so it doesn’t go down in size and further surgery is required. I try to close the potential space that seromas occur in, but no preventative technique is 100% effective. If it happens be patient and wait for it to go down. 

There are a lot of factors that influence the extent of bruising and seroma formation. Including:
• Size and complexity of the lipoma
• Being over weight or obese
• Medical conditions that affect bone marrow and tissue healing
• Regular medication to thin your blood
• Age and general frailty


Mobility: The other factor involved in recovery is mobility.

The older and less generally fit you are the more important early mobilisation after surgery becomes. 

As you can tell from this list, it is complex; the things you can do to help maximise your recovery and outcome are:

  • Consider any options you are given by your surgeon on the treatment options available to you.

  • Follow the pre-operative advice.  

  • Follow the post operation advice. 

Advice from Consultant Surgeon Mr James Kirkby-Bott

Returning to your normal activity post Lipoma Surgery

There are no limitations on return to activity as long as you follow this rule: If it hurts (more than just a bit uncomfortable) stop doing it and try again tomorrow. 


For driving the DVLA states that you must be able to do an emergency stop. It is illegal to drive a car if you cannot do this. Some insurers have time limits in the small print of their contracts so it can be worth calling them to make sure you are covered to drive again. On average after lipoma surgery expect not to drive for 7-10 days. The larger the lipoma the longer it will take to recover to the point it is safe to drive.

You can shower or wash at a basin from day 1. To have a bath or swim the wound needs to be healed and dry. There are no sutures to see, if you can feel an end it will disappear in a few weeks. At 10 days when you can remove all the dressings the wound should be dry and can be cleaned.

Most people can walk a mile and carry a small bag of shopping within a week. 

Sport enthusiasts should return to exercise carefully after 10-14 days. It will be best to try aerobic exercise like running, swimming and exercise classes first and for a smaller distance or duration than you usually managed. Build it up again as comfort allows.

Wound dressings

You will have 3 layers of dressing:
  1. The bottom layer (layer 1) called butterfly sutures need to stay on for 10 days.
  2. The middle layer (layer 2) is a flat waterproof dressing. You can shower with it on and then pat it dry. It may last 10 days but you might also need to change it once or twice. The fewer times it is changed the better as it reduces the risk of a minor wound infection.
  3. The top layer (layer 3) is called a pressure dressing and is there to apply firm pressure to the wound to reduce bruising. We try and leave this in place for 48 hours. You can take it off at home yourself leaving the 2 dressing layers beneath in place.

Pain relief post Lipoma Surgery

The best way to manage pain relief is to take it before the pain develops or becomes present enough to reduce your mobility or make you feel unwell. If you don’t actively try and control this lipoma surgery can be painful. If you do actively manage this then recovery from lipoma surgery should be reasonably straightforward. To maximise your post surgery comfort and recovery we advise that before the anaesthetic wears off you start taking the pain medication prescribed to you on your discharge before leaving hospital.

Paracetamol
Take 2 paracetamol capsules regularly 4 times a day. This medicine has few/no side effects and is safe in nearly everyone.

Ibuprofen
Take 2 ibuprofen capsules, regularly to start with, three times a day. Always with with food. Some patients can experience problems with this medicine as it can cause stomach irritation and affect kidney function. However, taking it for 72 hours with food should be safe and it is a very effective painkiller especially if taken with paracetamol.

Dihydrocodeine
This is a powerful painkiller with a long list of side effects. Only take it if needed. You can take it up to 4 times day with the paracetamol and ibuprofen as instructed above. It can cause constipation and headaches and affect concentration. You made need a laxative with it and we will send you home with one. 
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