Seattle Plastic Surgeon explains fat necrosis.
Recently I re-operated on an abdominoplasty patient of mine for fat necrosis. The term, fat necrosis, sounds so awful that I am compelled to blog about this uncommon and totally manageable problem that can occur after any surgery that removes and/or rearranges fat.
Fat necrosis occurs when the blood supply to the fat is inadequate. The fat cells die and as they die they release fatty acids and other chemicals that causes inflammation and swelling and sometimes pain. Usually fat necrosis presents as a non-tender lump but in my patient’s case, the area was quite painful.
Fat necrosis can look a lot like a wound infection to the patient. Diagnosis is made by evaluating the patient for other signs of infection such as fever or chills and examination of the surgical site. Fat necrosis has a very doughy texture. It feels just like bread dough under the skin and is rarely very tender.
In most cases the lump shrinks over time and ends up as a firm little lump that many patients just ignore, If it is a bother, the lump can be excised under a local anesthetic through a small incision.
The lady I re-operated on had an area of fat necrosis the size of a small plum. Two days after removal, she felt like a million bucks and is on her road to a quick recovery from this “lump in the road”.
Thanks for reading. Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder