Authored by Jackie Acosta in Weight Issues
Published on 11-23-2008
The alluring thought of shaving a few ounces of unwanted fat instantly sometimes blinds people of the risks of liposuction. This procedural surgery can cause complications that vary from non-serious to fatal results. It takes the lives of 3 out of 100,000 patients, a high fatality rate considering that in most cases liposuction was not necessary.
Loose skin is one possible side effect of liposuction. When a large amount of fat is removed in one operation, the skin may not adjust to the new figure and come loose. An indication that this may happen is the skin’s elasticity. Patients with stretch marks and those who are advanced in years are the ones who are most likely to have loose skin. Removing loose skin requires another operation either post liposuction or during. Irregular contour is another possible effect of liposuction. While this is not a complication in itself, it would require patients to undergo one or several other surgeries to fix.
An estimate of 20% of liposuction patients need to improve the contour from their original liposuction surgery. Edema is a case when the body swells after liposuction. When swelling persists, fluid can accumulate forming pockets of fluid called seroma. Seroma needs to be drained out of the body with a needle. In order to reduce the swelling, using a compression garment is advised. Edema is more common for patients who undergo ultrasonic liposuction. Because of the heat produced, ultrasonic liposuction may also leave burns. To avoid the side effects of ultrasonic liposuction, make sure that the surgeon to perform the procedure is experienced. They would know not to leave the probe in one spot for too long or not to operate too close to the skin’s surface.
Infection may also occur after a liposuction surgery. Infections range from mild to severe and the symptoms are redness of the skin, tenderness, red streaks on the skin, vomiting, high fever and chills. In order to prevent infection, some doctors would prescribe antibiotics. Liposuction may also result to organ damage. As surgeons need to operate through a small opening, there are cases when internal organs such as the intestines can be poked by the probe and causing an injury. The risk is higher when the patient has hernia as the intestines would be protruding through the abdomen and easily reached by the probe.
Organ damage can cause infection and this may entail follow-up surgeries to repair. Another serious side effect of liposuction is Pulmonary Embolism. Small particles of fat become loose during the operation and when some are left in the body, they may find their way to the lungs causing difficulty in breathing. This is a life threatening case that may require emergency care. Pulmonary Embolism is most likely to occur within 3 days after the operation so patients must be extra cautious. Tumescent liposuction requires fluid to be injected while fluids are secreted from the fat tissues. An imbalance of fluid from this procedure may also lead to pulmonary edema when fluid goes to the lungs.
In more serious cases, fluid imbalance can cause heart or kidney failure. The last but not the least of the dangers of liposuction is lidocaine poisoning. Lidocaine is one of the basic ingredients for liposuction and there are times when too much is injected into the body causing lidocaine overdose. Symptoms of lidocaine toxicity are numbness of lips, metallic taste in mouth, light headedness, speech slur, and eventually cardiac arrest.
When one considers going through liposuction, it is vital to deliberate on the risks on hand and seek a doctor’s advice first.