Every surgical or medical procedure involves a certain amount of risk. To minimize potential liposuction risks and side-effects, patients should educate themselves on the different types of liposuction procedures, while discussing their expectations and concerns with their physician.
Possible Liposuction Risks
With any type of cosmetic surgery, including liposuction, complications may arise, but they are rare. Some dangers of liposuction include infection, a reaction to the anesthesia, blood clotting, and fluid loss. Less severe liposuction risks include bruises and scars, a numbing of the skin, and moderate problems such as changes in skin pigmentation. Liposuction complications may include:
- Extended healing time
- Allergic reaction to medication or anesthesia
- Fat or blood clots - clots can migrate to the lungs and lead to death
- Excessive fluid loss - fluid loss can lead to shock and, in some cases, death
- Fluid accumulation - fluid must be drained
- Friction burns
- Damage to the skin or nerves
- Damage to vital organs
Severe Liposuction Complications
Severe complications associated with liposuction are rare, but should be taken into consideration when deciding whether liposuction is right for you. Severe complications include adverse reactions to anesthesia, cardiac arrest, cardiac arrhythmia, internal blood clots, excessive bleeding, severe drug interactions, allergic reactions to medication, permanent nerve damage, seizures, and brain damage from anesthesia.
Dangers of Excessive Liposuction
The most common dangers of liposuction include risks associated with removing too much fat from targeted areas at once, as well as having too much liposuction performed in a single day. Excessive liposuction can cause problems including dents, lumps, and sagging skin. In order to minimize surgical complications and the side effects of overexposure to anesthesia, patients should schedule multiple liposuction procedures at least several days apart.
Non-life-threatening liposuction complications can include bruising, swelling, scars, a lumpy appearance, sagging or discolored skin, focal skin necrosis, fainting after surgery, numbness, and non-lethal drug interactions.
Liposuction will cause some swelling afterwards, with a few techniques causing less than others. During follow-up visits with a doctor, it is important for a patient to inform the doctor of any changes in the amount of post-liposuction swelling. Significant increases in swelling can be a warning sign of other complications. Swelling in the ankles and treated areas is common, along with a temporary lumpy appearance that will eventually fade away within six months. Inflammation of the veins may occur in the thighs if they are treated, but this should also go away after a few weeks.
Another liposuction side-effect is bruising. Treated areas may become discolored and be tender to the touch, but they usually disappear after one month. Like swelling, the particular type of liposuction used can help mitigate any bruising that may occur. The status of the bruises should also be discussed with the doctor in post-surgery check-ups.
Visit the DocShop gallery to view liposuction before and after photos.
Photo credit: Atlantic Plastic Surgery Center
Minor liposuction complications, problems, and general dissatisfaction can be minimized by fully understanding the risks and benefits associated with liposuction and having realistic expectations. It is extremely important to choose a cosmetic surgeon who will clearly and thoroughly explain potential liposuction side effects and risks. He or she should also have proper and extensive training, along with state-of-the-art facilities and a good standing in the field.
Severe complications can be minimized by disclosing your entire medical history to your doctor and discussing all prescription and over-the-counter medications you take on a regular basis. Patients should be good candidates for liposuction and fully understand what is involved in this procedure.
To maximize the success of liposuction surgery and minimize the risk of complications, always follow your cosmetic surgeon’s pre-operative instructions for surgical preparation and postoperative care. If you smoke, your cosmetic surgeon will advise you to stop two weeks prior to and following liposuction surgery. You may also choose another avenue for fat removal. There are non-surgical liposuction alternatives available to patients who are not good candidates for liposuction or simply prefer other methods.
Talk to a Doctor about the Dangers of Liposuction
The best place to find out about potential dangers of liposuction is from your physician. It is important to understand that there are risks, problems, and complications associated with any cosmetic surgery procedure. However, doing your homework and asking all of the pertinent questions will minimize the risk of side effects that may occur as a result of the surgery. Let DocShop help you find a cosmetic surgeon in your area.