Endocrine, Gallbladder, Hernia and General Surgeon 02380 178 991
Notes from Consultant Surgeon Mr James Kirkby-Bott's
Post Operation Advice
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 after lipoma surgery can affect
the wider area around where the lump was. In the rare occurrence of a very
large bruise, it is nearly always advised to leave it alone and wait for it to
reabsorb over time.
Additionally, the space left by removing the
lipoma can sometimes fill with fluid. This is known as a seroma. This
can become tense. Again, the best advice is to leave it alone and allow it to
reabsorb 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
of 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.
Many factors influence the extent of bruising
and seroma formation, including:
complexity of the lipoma
conditions that affect bone marrow and tissue healing
medication to thin your blood
Age and general
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 the above list, it is
complex; the things you can do to help maximise your recovery and outcome are:
options you are given by your surgeon on the treatment options available to
Follow the post operation advice.
The following advice is designed to make your
scar feel as close to invisible and normal, like before surgery, as your body
will allow. It will all heal well, but following this advice will maximise
the final outcome you have.
You will have 2 or 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
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 two dressing layers beneath in place. For smaller lipomas/skin lesions
we do not use this layer.
Returning to Day-to-Day Activities
There are no limitations on return to activity if you follow
this rule: If it hurts (more than just a bit
uncomfortable), stop doing it and try again in a couple of days.
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. At 10
days, you can remove all the dressings. The wound should be dry and can be cleaned. There are no sutures to see – if you can
feel an end, it will disappear in a few weeks.
There are no time limits after this kind of
surgery. Follow the above rule: If it hurts (more than just a bit
uncomfortable), stop doing it and try again tomorrow.
Sport enthusiasts should return to exercise as
comfort allows. It will be best to try aerobic exercise like running, and
exercise classes first and for a smaller distance or duration than you usually
managed. Build it up again as comfort allows. Swimmers need to wait till the
wounds is clean and dry and the dressings removed.
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.
For lipoma surgery, the larger the lipoma,
the longer it will take to recover to the point it is safe to drive. Small
lipomas removed from areas away from the groin and lower limp or neck/shoulder
(used to look over the shoulder) can expect to drive the next day. Larger
lipomas from areas cited above may require 7-10 days before they can drive.
The best way to manage pain relief is to take
the pain relief 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. Take it as you need to, but follow this advice for the best
Take two paracetamol capsules regularly four
times a day. In the prescribed dose it has no side effects and is safe in
Take two Ibuprofen capsules, regularly to
start with, three times a day with some food. Some patients can
experience problems with this medicine as it can cause stomach irritation and
affect kidney function. However, taking it for up to 72 hours with food (even
for those previously told to avoid it) should be safe and it is a very
effective painkiller, especially if taken with paracetamol.
This is a powerful painkiller with a long
list of side effects. Only take it if needed. You can take it up to four
times day with the paracetamol and ibuprofen as instructed above. It can
cause constipation, headaches and affect concentration. Use a laxative if you
need to use this drug and it is causing constipation. Only take this as
We will arrange follow up once the histology
is back. This usually takes 2 weeks, but increasingly often larger lipomas are
sent for special genetic testing called MDM2. This often takes a month or more
to come back so we may not contact you for FU for that amount of time. We
usually like to see you to discuss these results and assess the wound/scar. However, telephone
consultations after local anaesthetic only repair in out-patients can be done
via the telephone.
it is up to you as to how much you follow this post-surgery advice and
information. Your recovery will be affected by how closely you follow this
reading this a couple of times you still have questions, please email them to us
prior to your surgery so we can answer them and make sure you are comfortable
with and understand what you are agreeing to and why.
"Mr Kirkby-Bott was very professional and discussed my appointment in a very open manner that made me feel relaxed"