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Fluid overload during liposuction
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Fluid overload during liposuction

21st Aug 2017

Liposuction is a popular surgical procedure that helps in providing a better contour to the body. Although it removes the excess fat in some areas of the body, it is not considered as a weight loss solution. It is mostly done to help those who have lost a lot of weight to lose further the stubborn fat that is left after their weight loss journey.

This surgical procedure, just like other surgical procedures, also comes with the risk of developing different complications or dangerous health conditions. One of the complications related to liposuction is fluid overload.

The liposuction surgery can be done through different techniques. Depending on the kind of liposuction surgery you have, the surgeon can make use of different fluids to inject into the fatty areas of your body. This fluid along with your fats will be suctioned out of the body through a blunt cannula. In some liposuction techniques, fluids can also be given to you through your IV line. The amount of all these fluids plus the effect of the anesthesia can lead to fluid overload especially when the fluid kinetics is not carefully taken into consideration.

The tumescent technique for liposuction is a technique that only makes use of local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia. Although many prefer this kind of liposuction because it doesn’t require general anesthesia, there is still a danger when a tumescent technique and IV fluid infusion are combined. It is important that surgeons who make use of the tumescent technique do not give their patients IV fluid to prevent fluid overload.

The use of IV fluids during the liposuction is observed with other former liposuction techniques that also require general anesthesia. The IV fluids are used to prevent other risks that were brought about by third spacing. Aside from IV fluids, liposuction patients also received blood transfusions and plasma expanders to prevent any adverse effects.

With the introduction of the tumescent technique for liposuction, there is no need to infuse normovolemic patients with large amounts of IV fluids because it will just cause more dangerous complications such as fluid overload and pulmonary edema.

Pulmonary edema means that there is fluid in the lungs, and this can happen when there is fluid overload. The pulmonary interstitial space is very small that is why when there is excess fluid in the capillaries, it can readily go to the alveolar air sac and cause pulmonary edema. To prevent this from happening, the use of IV fluids should be avoided when the tumescent liposuction is done. There would already be excess fluids that would be absorbed by the body due to the injection of the mixture of fluids in the area to be liposuctioned after the surgery. If more fluid were added intravenously, there would certainly be an excess of the total fluid in the body. Furthermore, the use of IV fluids is not applicable for those who undergo tumescent liposuction because they can hydrate themselves effectively by simply drinking fluids. It is important to note that pulmonary edema is a serious condition that can be fatal.


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