This post is the second of two parts on liposuction risks and complications. .
Visceral Perforations (puncture wounds in the organs) can happen during liposuction. During the procedure the physician cannot see where the canula or probe is. It is possible to puncture or damage internal organs during liposuction. For example, this may happen if the intestines are punctured during abdominal liposuction. When organs are damaged, surgery may be required to repair them. Visceral perforations may also be fatal.
After liposuction you may experience Seroma. That is a pooling of serum in areas where tissue has been removed. Serum is the straw colored liquid from your blood.
After liposuction there could be nerve compression and changes in sensation. You may experience “paresthesias”, an altered sensation at the site of the liposuction. This may either be in the form of an increased sensitivity (pain) in the area, or the loss of any feeling (numbness) in the area. If these changes in sensation persist for a long period of time (weeks or months) you need to inform your physician. In some cases, these changes in sensation could be permanent.
After liposuction there may be swelling or edema. In some cases, swelling may persist for weeks or months after the surgery.
Skin Necrosis (skin death) may occur after the surgery. The skin above the liposuction site may become necrotic or “die.” When this happens, skin may change color and be sloughed (fall) off. It is possible that large areas of skin necrosis may become infected with bacteria or microorganisms.
During ultrasound assisted liposuction, the ultrasound probe could become very hot and possibly cause burns.
After liposuction fluid Imbalance may also happen. During liposuction fat tissue, which contains a lot of liquid, is removed. During the procedure physicians may also inject large amounts of fluids. The net result could be a fluid imbalance. While in the physician’s office, surgical center or hospital, the staff will be watching you for signs of fluid imbalance. However, this could happen after you go home. It can result in serious conditions including:
- Heart problems
- Excess fluid collecting in the lungs
- Kidney problems as your kidneys work to maintain fluid balance.
Toxicity from Anesthesia may occur during surgery. Lidocaine, a drug that numbs the skin, is frequently used as a local anesthetic during liposuction. Large volumes of liquid with lidocaine may be injected during liposuction. You could end up with very high doses of lidocaine. The signs of this are:
- Tinnitis (a ringing in the ears)
- Slurred speech
- Metallic taste in the mouth
- Numbness of the lips and tongue
- Muscle twitching and convulsions.
Lidocaine toxicity may cause a heart stoppage. And yes, this can be fatal. In general, any type of anesthesia may cause complications and is always considered a risk factor during any type of surgery.
Fatalities Related to Liposuction. There are multiple reports of deaths related to the liposuction procedure. This is not an urban myth, it does happen. It is difficult to be sure how often death from liposuction happens. There are several studies that estimate how often patients undergoing liposuction die during the procedure or as a result of it.
Some studies indicate that the risk of death due to liposuction is as low as 3 deaths for every 100,000 liposuction operations performed. However, other studies indicate that the risk of death is between 20 and 100 deaths per 100,000 liposuction procedures.
One study suggests that the death rate is higher in liposuction surgeries when other surgical procedures are also performed. In order to understand the risk level, one paper compares the deaths from liposuction to deaths from car accidents (16 per 100,000). It is important to remember that liposuction is a surgical procedure and that there may be serious complications, including death.
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