Does Medicare Cover Lipoma Removal?
- Read about whether Medicare covers lipoma removal and learn about the criteria required by Medicare to cover lipoma removal procedures and lipoma testing.
Lipomas are fatty lumps that develop slowly in the area between the underlying muscle layer and the skin. In most cases, lipomas are benign, but their size and location may lead to discomfort and pain, which at times may be severe. In these circumstances, many individuals opt for lipoma removal and may wonder if Medicare covers the procedure.
Does Medicare Cover Lipoma Removal?
When lipoma removal procedures are approved for coverage by Medicare, the surgery is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and Medicare Part B covers outpatient services. However, because lipomas are usually not considered harmful to an individual's overall health, obtaining Medicare coverage for lipoma removal procedures can be a bit challenging.
For lipoma removal surgery to be covered by Medicare, a physician must determine that the lipoma is a threat to the person's health and well-being or that it requires removal to treat a disease, making the procedure medically necessary. When a lipoma is removed during a recipient's hospital stay or time in a skilled nursing facility, Medicare Part A would be responsible for coverage if the procedure is deemed a medical necessity.
Individuals enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans may be eligible for additional coverage pertaining to lipoma removal procedures. To determine the scope of coverage, recipients should contact their plan providers.
Is Medication Coverage for Lipoma Removal Provided by Medicare?
Following lipoma removal procedures, medications may be prescribed to reduce pain and promote healing. If the lipoma is removed during an outpatient procedure, Medicare Part D may help cover the costs of prescribed medication. Recipients should verify coverage with Medicare to learn more about coverage options.
Does Medicare Provide Coverage for Diagnostic Testing for Lipomas?
Medicare recipients may be able to obtain coverage for lipoma diagnostic testing procedures through Medicare Part B. While most lipomas are considered harmless, liposarcomas are fatty growths beneath the skin that are both cancerous and fast-growing. These growths may slightly resemble lipomas, but they don't move easily beneath the skin and can be tender and painful.
If a physician is concerned about the possibility of a liposarcoma, they may order diagnostic imaging tests and biopsies to rule out or diagnose the disease. In these cases, the diagnostic tests may be covered through Medicare Part B. These tests can be covered even if the recipient doesn't qualify for lipoma removal.
What Is the Lipoma Removal Procedure?
Lipoma removal is usually performed on an outpatient basis; however, there may be circumstances where the lipoma is unusually large in size or located in a difficult-to-reach spot in the body. When the latter is the case, surgery may be performed under anesthesia in an operating room.
During the procedure, a physician creates an incision in the area of the skin where the lipoma is located. The lipoma is removed, and the incision is closed with sutures. It's important to contact your physician if you experience any of the following:
- Severe bleeding from the surgical area (minor bleeding is normal)
- Itching skin or rash development
- High fever
- Nausea or vomiting
What Type of Physician Removes Lipomas?
Many types of doctors have experience with lipoma removal. However, dermatologists and plastic surgeons tend to be highly knowledgeable in lipoma diagnostics and removal procedures.
Are There Nonsurgical Options to Remove Lipomas?
Injection lipolysis is a common body contouring treatment to help dissolve fat for a slimmer appearance. During the procedure, a solution of phosphatidylcholine/sodium deoxycholate is injected into the affected areas, and the chemicals work to dissolve fat cells beneath the skin. While this procedure is considered cosmetic, studies have shown this treatment may be effective when performed by a professional licensed physician.
What Do Lipomas Consist Of?
Lipomas consist mostly of fat cells, but some types of lipomas may also contain blood vessels and body tissues. Lipoma are categorized as follows.
- Pleomorphic: This type of lipoma consists of fat cells.
- Myelolipoma: This type of lipoma contains a combination of fat cells and blood cell-producing body tissues.
- Fibrolipoma: Fibrolipomas contain fibrous tissues and fat cells.
- Hibernoma: Hibernoma lipomas contain brown fat cells.
- Angiolipoma: An angiolipoma may cause pain, and it consists of blood vessels and fat cells.
- Conventional: Conventional lipomas are the most commonly diagnosed lipomas. They rarely cause pain and contain white fat cells.