What are the Risks of Liposuction?

What are the Risks of Liposuction?

Posted on April 25, 2021


Liposuction is a body contouring procedure that can leave you slimmer and trimmer, and looking—and feeling—your best. Liposuction remains one of the most effective and most popular body contouring procedures in the United States today.
However, it is important to remember that liposuction is a surgical procedure. And as with any surgery, it involves the potential for short- and long-term complications. As you embark on your liposuction journey, be sure that you fully understand the risks involved in a liposuction surgery.
During your consultation, your Board-certified plastic surgeon will review all potential risks and complications, and how they may impact your specific procedure. They will also ensure that you understand what steps you can take before and after your liposuction to minimize the potential for long-term complications.

What Factors Impact Your Risk During Liposuction?

Each liposuction surgery is unique to meet the specific goals of the patient. Therefore, the risk of complications during your surgery may be impacted by several factors, including:

  • The target body areas for your liposuction surgery
  • Removing fat from multiple areas of the body simultaneously
  • How much fat your liposuction procedure will remove
  • If your surgeon is performing multiple cosmetic procedures simultaneously
  • Whether your procedure can be performed under local anesthesia or requires general anesthesia. Generally speaking, general anesthesia carries greater risk of serious complications than local anesthesia.
  • Your overall health and medical condition at the time of surgery

Risks Associated with Liposuction Surgery

Some risks associated with liposuction are the same as all surgical procedures. The most common risks are excessive bleeding, long-term damage to organs such as the heart and lungs, and a negative reaction to anesthesia. All surgical procedures carry the risk, however unlikely, of death.
Some risks are specific to the liposuction procedure itself. Those risks include:

  • Fat embolism. A serious medical emergency caused by pieces of loosened fat becoming trapped in a blood vessel, accumulate in the lungs, or travel to the brain.
  • Heart and kidney problems. Potentially life-threatening concerns in the kidneys, heart, or lungs may occur as fluid levels change during the procedure.
  • Organ puncture: If the cannula used to suction out fat cells penetrates too deeply, it could potentially puncture an adjacent organ. This complication is extremely rare but may require surgical repair.
  • Swelling/fluid accumulation: Excessive swelling (edema) and pockets of fluid (seromas) are a common side-effect of liposuction surgery. If left untreated, fluid can harden and undermine the long-term results of your procedure.
  • Numbness: Nerve damage can lead to areas of numbness at the surgical site. Numbness is usually temporary but can be permanent.
  • Infection: Skin infections are a rare but potentially serious complication.
  • Contour irregularities: Areas of the body that appear lumpy, wavy, or bumpy may be the result of poor skin elasticity or uneven fat removal. With proper healing, these side-effects are usually temporary but can be permanent.
  • Scarring/spottiness: Damage to the surface of the skin during surgery can lead to long-term scarring. In most cases, the appearance of scars will diminish over time, although they will not disappear entirely. Damage caused by the cannula underneath the skin can give the skin a spotted appearance that is usually permanent.

Liposuction, like all surgical procedures, involves these and other risk factors. Some may be unavoidable. Others can be mitigated by taking certain steps before and after your procedure. For example, following your surgeon’s recovery instructions, such as wearing a compression garment, will minimize the risk for excessive swelling and contour irregularities.
The most important step you can take to minimize the potential for long-term complications is to choose your surgeon carefully. Be sure to select a surgeon who is Board-certified in plastic surgery, and has an outstanding track record of performing surgeries similar to yours. If you must undergo general anesthesia, be sure that your anesthesiologist is also Board-certified.
No surgeon can guarantee that liposuction will be 100% safe. But by choosing a surgeon with the training and experience specifically in liposuction and cosmetic surgery, you are giving yourself the best possible chance that your surgery will be safe and successful.

For More Information on the Treatments and Procedures Offered, contact award winning Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Thomas Fiala at Fiala Aesthetics in Greater Orlando to Schedule Your Consultation:

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