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Risks with Liposuction? Most Important Liposuction Risks You Should Know About

Updated on April 15, 2010

The Dangers of Liposuction

Though the benefits of having liposuction done are many, you should make an informed decision and realize there are some unavoidable dangers that exist with any surgical procedure. Here are some of the most common problems resulting from liposuction.

Successful face/chin liposuction. []
Successful face/chin liposuction. []

Normal Side Effects of Liposuction

These are normal side effects that everyone who goes through liposuction surgery will experience, and are not dangerous in and of themselves.

  • Scars: These marks are a permanent side effect of liposuction, though surgeons are skilled at hiding incisions in your body's natural creases, as well as your navel. Unless you have had liposuction that involves many tiny incisions, such as buttocks liposuction, you will be left with two small scars, no more than a couple of inches long. To keep them as soft and as unnoticeable as possible, rub them gently and keep them out of the sun as much as possible for a year.
  • Swelling and pressure: Every patient will experience some swelling, but the extent of the discomfort varies widely. Wearing compression garments is reported to one of the most effective ways to reduce swelling and increase comfort while your body heals from the liposuction surgery.

Male stomach liposuction []
Male stomach liposuction []

Moderate Risks with Liposuction

These are undesirable but not life-threatening events that can occur as a result of your liposuction surgery.

  • Infection: You will probably be given antibiotics after surgery anyway, but there is still a chance of contracting an infection despite these precautions, you may need further medication. Report to your doctor immediately if you have a fever or nausea, have pain that is worsening or red streaks near your surgery site. A doctor will be able to treat the infection relatively easily as long as you notify him or her in time.
  • Burns: The probes in ultrasonic liposuction can leave burns if the probe is left too close to the the patient's skin for too long.
  • The Need for Additional Surgery: Depending upon your age, whether or not you have been pregnant previously, and your skin's natural level of elasticity, you may be left with excess skin after your liposuction, necessitating more plastic surgery to remove. Unskilled plastic surgeons may leave behind unnatural-looking curves, or small lumps of fat, after the surgery, so that you must have re-contouring done for natural, attractive results.

Leg/thigh liposuction surgery []
Leg/thigh liposuction surgery []

Severe Risks with Liposuction

These are dangerous complications of liposuction surgery than occur occasionally. They may be fatal if not treated promptly.

  • Organ Damage: The surgeon piercing the skin aims to try to make the liposuction incision site as small as possible, and thus he or she has difficult seeing exactly where exactly in the body he or she is piercing, and your intestines may be inadvertently damaged as a result, requiring additional surgery to repair them.
  • Pulmonary Embolism: During the liposuction procedure, small pieces of fat may be knocked into the bloodstream, eventually traveling to the lungs and causing respiratory arrest. The risk for this event is greatest within the first three days after surgery, so contact emergency services right away if a liposuction patient experiences difficulty breathing.
  • Fluid Imbalance: Because large amounts of fluid are added  to the body in tumescent liposuction procedures to counteract the fluid in the fat that is being removed, a medical condition called fluid imbalance could result. This might result in a potentially fatal amount of fluid in the lungs, or heart or kidney failure, if the problem is not recognized by the doctors quickly. Recent advances in liposuction, including tumescent liposuction and "superwet" liposuction, the risk of this problem is greatly decreased.

Liposuction and Tummy Tucks Before and After Video


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