Obesity

Dangers of Liposuction

Liposuction is a surgical procedure which is used to remove body fat from specific areas such as abdomen, thighs, hip, back, upper arms, chin, flanks (love handles) and gynecomastia (male breast tissue). Liposuction is not a weight loss solution, but it is used to remove areas of fat which are hard to get rid of through exercise or diet.

Liposuction shapes or contours a specific body area. In liposuction, the surgeon/doctor uses the suction technique to remove fat from specific areas using a cannula. People who are in good health, having good skin tone, and without any health conditions are best candidates for liposuction.

To have an idea about the process of liposuction and the dangers associated with it watch the video below:

Liposuction is not suitable for people with heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and pulmonary problems.

The procedure may be performed under general or local anesthesia. Smoking increases the risk in this procedure. In this article, we shall discuss about the dangers of Liposuction.

Liposuction procedure

What are the dangers of Liposuction?

The dangers arising from the complications of the procedure could depend on the intensity of the side effects experienced. The side effects of the procedure could be distinguished as short term side effects and long term side effects.

Short term complications of Liposuction

  • Swelling: It is a normal occurrence and takes about a couple of months to subside. It can be managed with anti inflammatory medications, massages and compressive garments.
  • Pain : Pain is temporary and can be well managed with pain killers which are available with prescription or over the counter.
  • Bruising: Bruising is a painful short term side effect and can affect the surgery site as well as adjacent areas. Abdominal liposuction can result in bruises appearing in the genitals. Bruising is generally downward moving due to gravity. Some bruises can turn into permanent scars. Bruises should ideally fade after a few weeks.
  • Scars: Based on the quality and texture of skin, scars heal. They may heal in a couple of weeks or it can take as long as a year to fade away. It depends on the individual how long it will take for the scars to heal.
  • Numbness : Paresthesias or altered sensation at the site of the surgery is a common occurrence. It can be an increased sensation (pain) in the area or the loss of feeling or numbness in the area. It may take between four to six months to heal completely. Massaging the area facilitates circulation and return of sensation.
  • Skin irregularities or wrinkles: An individual’s skin elasticity determines the residual bumps and wrinkles from the procedure. Poor elasticity will make one more prone to stretch marks, cellulite, bumps, dimples, irregularities and wrinkles.
  • Asymmetry: Normally the body shape is not identical on both sides. Following any contouring procedure, the body shape in both the sides may start appearing asymmetrical.
  • Depression and decreased libido : Post surgery depression and decreased libido is common. It is temporary and can be associated with the pain and decreased mobility following the procedure.
  • Muscle spasms : Temporary muscle spasms and cramps are also known to occur is some people.
  • Seroma or fluid collection: Accumulation of serum (straw colored liquid isolated from blood) in the site of surgery can occur in some individuals. Ultrasound assisted liposuction could cause it more frequently. But lipoplasty using other procedures does not have the said side effect. The accumulated fluid can be drained by the physician in his office.
  • Post lipoplasty syncope (fainting) : Post lipoplasty fainting, the next morning after the procedure is heard of. This happens after the first morning urination. This can lead to truma and injury.

It would also be useful to know about the severe side effects of the procedure concerned.

Severe Complications of Liposuction

  • Pulmonary fat embolism : The procedure involves loosening and sucking out fat tissues from the body. This particular side effect is very serious and occurs quite rarely. While loosening out fatty tissues, a fat molecule may get into the blood stream through ruptured vessels damaged during the procedure. The fat droplet can now travel and get lodged into the heart, brain or lungs. The symptoms of pulmonary fat emboli in the lungs is usually shortness of breath and difficulty in breathing. This particular condition has the potential to turn fatal and can even leave behind a permanent disability.
  • Perforation of internal organs : The procedure is conducted by inserting a tool, namely, a canula to suck out the fat tissues. During the procedure, the surgeon moves it around internally to suck out the fat accumulations. The tool may end up causing an internal injury in the process. It may puncture or damage internal organs and leave behind wounds. A punctured and perforated intestine or liver may turn fatal. These type of injuries might make an emergency surgery essential to repair the perforated organs.
  • Excessive IV Fluids : Administering intravenous fluids is essential in liposuction. Sometime an overdose of intra venous fluids can cause a condition, namely, pulmonary edema. A fluid overload is a rare complication of liposuction.
  • Excessive blood loss : With newer and modern techniques of liposuction this is a rare possibility. However, hematomas or accumulation of blood could occur because of internal bleeding. Patients with an impaired blood clotting mechanism are more prone to get this condition.
  • Infections : Infections could occur because of unsterilised surgical instruments. Surgical instruments sterilised in bacteriocidal chemical solution may continue carrying stains of a bacteria, namely, mycobacteria. The latter is resistant to bacteriocidal solutions. Hence, liposuction tools need to be sterilized in a steam-autoclave or be disposable items. Another infection which causes potentially life threatening tissue destruction is associated with punctured wounds going undetected initially due to the effect of general anesthesia. The use of Reston foam applied to reduce bruising has also been associated with infection. Infection increases the dangers of Liposuction many fold.
  • Anesthesia related life threats : Complications from anesthesia are rare. However, an untrained anesthesiologist can cause serious damage, be it local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia can be fatal if the physician exceeds the recommended dosage. If any drug interactions occur with lidocaine then it can block the liver enzyme that metabolizes lidocaine. Drugs which induce lidocaine toxicity need to be avoided at any cost if one is going for the procedure. Lidocaine toxicity can cause tingling, numbness, unconsciousness and cardiac arrest General anesthesia can be more dangerous and drug interactions, dosage inadequacy, and injury from anesthesia equipment can cause permanent damage.
  • Hypothermia : It is the dangerous fall in body temperature that could be associated with the use of general anesthesia. It could cause cardiac problems. Using a chilled anesthetic agent instead of one brought up to body temperature could cause it.
  • Overdoing it The greatest risk of liposuction is doing an excess of it. Removing an excessive amount of fat in a day’s procedure, or working on multiple sites or coupling it with any other unrelated surgical procedure can increase the dangers of liposuction.

Liposuction Vs Tummy Tuck

People who are obese and want to opt for surgeries, liposuction vs tummy tuck have always been a serious topic for discussion. Both are quite synonymous with each other and thus people get confused between the two. However, there is a difference between them and their effects on an individual’s body. One must consult a doctor before going for any of these surgeries. This article focuses on the differences between liposuction vs tummy tuck and benefits of each other.

Advantages of Liposuction over Tummy Tuck?

  • Liposuction is more advanced surgery as compared to tummy tuck. A surgical vacuum is used in this process, in order to carry out the suction of extra fat from the body.
  • After the extra fats are removed from the suction process, the incisions are stitched. Very few incisions are made near the abdominal area.
  • Liposuction does not involve in supplanting the belly button. After the process of liposuction some extra skin is usually left. After the removal of body fat the skin shrinks.

Advantages of Tummy Tuck over Liposuction?

  • It is very difficult to get rid of the fat deposits near the tummy and lower abdominal area. People complain about pot belly even after trying intensive weight loss programs and diet.
  • Before the invention of liposuction, tummy tuck used to be performed extensively and it is still performed.
  • A large amount of skin is removed from the abdominal area. A general anesthesia is given to the patient after which surgical incision is made between the two hip bones.
  • Near the belly button, an incision is made in order to get to the fat around the abdomen. The skin which is stretched ad sagging along with the excessive fat is then removed from the abdomen. The latter is not done in liposuction.
  • One can also opt for skin tightening, it is carried out by stitching the abdominal muscle together. Tummy tuck also involves formation of a new belly button.

Difference between Liposuction and Tummy Tuck

  • Both are surgical process and are used to remove extra fat from the body. Liposuction is less painful than tummy tuck because tummy tuck involves a massive incision between the two hip bones and length of the incision is around two inch.
  • The amount of bleeding is more in tummy tuck than in liposuction. Apart from this displacement of belly button also involves hazardous complexities. Tummy tuck leaves a large visible scar after the surgery compared to liposuction.
  • Due to large incisions, tummy tuck requires more time to recover than liposuction.
  • Liposuction can remove large amount of skin whereas tummy tuck cannot removed.
  • Tummy tuck is suitable for those people who needs large skin removal. Very few incisions are made in liposuction surgery, so there is less bleeding and one can recover within three days after liposuction surgery.

However, tummy tuck should be considered only when a person needs a large removal of skin. Liposuction is considered for those people who are close to their ideal weight and have tight skin near the abdomen. It is important to be aware of the dangers of liposuction or for that matter any other cosmetic surgery procedure before one decides to go for it.

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