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Is liposuction risk-free?
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Is liposuction risk-free?

22nd Oct 2020

When coming to the clinic to discuss if they are good candidates for liposuction, many patients ask if the procedure is risk-free. It is true that with the developments of modern plastic surgery and also the anesthetic substances used, all plastic surgery procedures are safer than a decade ago, including liposuction. Also, it is true that liposuction is one of the procedures that entail minimal risks and have few potential complications associated with it. But still, no procedure is risk-free, not even liposuction.

When liposuction is performed, the patient should be in top physical and emotional condition. Otherwise, the risks are increased exponentially, despite this being a rather straight forward procedure. 

For liposuction, we can use either a local anesthesia with IV sedation or general anesthesia. One type of anesthesia is chosen over the other after taking into consideration factors such as the health condition of the patient, the estimated length of the procedure, the estimated amount of fat to be removed, and so on. When the procedure is longer or the plastic surgeon estimates that a considerable amount of fat will be eliminated, general anesthesia is used. This means by default that when undergoing liposuction, the patient can be confronted with the risks associated with the use of anesthesia. 

Since we have talked about the amount of fat that is extracted during liposuction, we should also mention that there is a capsize for fat elimination. A responsible plastic surgeon will avoid extracting more than six to seven liters of fat in one liposuction session. Going over this amount can lead to life-threatening complications for the patient. Choosing a board-certified and experienced plastic surgeon and having realistic expectations from the procedure can help avoid this risk.

After liposuction is performed, there is a risk of excessive bleeding and the formation of a blood clot. Fat thrombosis can also happen if a fat clot enters the bloodstream. An experienced plastic surgeon will take immediate measures if this complication occurs. The risk of excessive bleeding can be reduced if the patient avoids anti-inflammatory medication for at least two weeks before the procedure and certain techniques are preferred and performed during liposuction. For example, tumescent liposuction is a modern liposuction technique that is used for its advantages when limiting the bleeding during and after surgery and reduced swelling after the procedure.

Other risks associated with liposuction can be the puncture of an organ. Once again, choosing an experienced, board-certified plastic surgeon will reduce this risk.

The patient might also develop seromas and hematomas, and swelling and bruising, but these are normal side effects that can occur after any type of surgery. Also, keep in mind that after the procedure, the patient needs to wear a girdle or compression garments to help reduce the swelling and refine the results achieved with the procedure.  


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