Liposuction Complications & Dangers

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Liposuction should be viewed as a form of surgery, and as with any other surgery, there are risks involved within all procedures and techniques.  As liposuction has become more and more popular, and as surgeons have learned from past mistakes and have advanced techniques and technologies, the risks associated with liposuction have reduced considerably. 

You are more at risk from liposuction if you are having large areas treated, and a lot of fat removed.  The surgery is more extensive for this, and it is more likely that you will require a general anaesthetic to have more fat removed.  Although serious risk from liposuction has been reduced, there are still major dangers that need to be brought up.


Any form of cut, scrape, incision or puncture can get infected, as the opening allows bacteria to enter the body and multiply.  Although the incisions used during modern liposuction are small, they still hold some form of risk, and infections from hospitals and clinics have been known to have very serious outcomes.  Your surgeon will do all they can to eliminate this risk, but it is still a very real concern.


Allergic reactions to anaesthetics and the fluids used within liposuction are rare, but can result in serious illness or death.  Local anaesthetics hold less risk than general anaesthetics, but there is still a slim chance that you might have some form of reaction. 

Skin Irregularities

This can occur when fat is removed from too close to the skin or when the cannula damages tissues, and can leave dimpling or discolorations in skin tone.  You surgeon will try to remove fat from deep beneath the skin to avoid any skin damage, and with new techniques the cannula can be used only as a suction devise so reducing the amount of damage that might be done.  An extreme example of skin damage is necrosis – basically skin death.  This can mean that the skin starts to peel away from the affected area.  If this occurs then the recovery can be quite technical, with possibilities for needing skin grafts and the resulting scarring that this entails.  This is a very extreme, and very rare, example of skin irregularity.  Everyone heals differently, and sometimes older people don’t have the same skin elasticity as that of a younger person.  How your skin reacts to liposuction will vary, and sometimes your surgeon cannot predict your reaction. 

Damage to Internal Organs

While your surgeon performs liposuction they cannot see where they are using the cannula.  Sometimes this has led to the cannula puncturing an internal organ, and leading to more surgery or, in a worst case scenario, death.  An experienced liposuction surgeon is very unlikely to allow this to happen, and it is very important that you ensure that your surgeon is trained properly to lessen the risk of this happening. 


In the past surgeons tried to use ultrasound waves externally to produce a liposuction result.  This led to a lot of skin burns that left scars in their wake.  Currently this procedure has been abandoned, and the burns that do occur from liposuction are more likely to be internal.  Friction from the cannula under the skin can cause burns to tissues and can lead to nerve damage in severe cases.  In UAL there is also the risk of internal burning, although with advances in technology this is greatly lessened in recent years. 

Tumescent Fluids becoming Toxic

Lidocaine, a part of the fluids used in tumescent injections, can become highly toxic if used in a high quantity and can pose some danger. The extreme complication is due to poisoning, resulting in numbness, seizures, respiratory problems and eventually cardiac arrest.  This is avoided by not using too large a quantity of tumescent fluids, and by having an experienced surgeon. 

Retention of Fluids

Your surgeon is likely to use tumescent fluids, injected under the skin to ease the removal of fat cells.  This, when combined with the loss of fluid resulting from fat removal, can mean that the fluid levels within your body become unbalanced, leading to problems either with too much fluid within the body, or with too little.  Too little might require you to return to the clinic for IV drips and treatments, too much can put a serious strain on your vital organs, and lead to serious illness.  Your surgeon will inform you of symptoms to be aware of after you liposuction so that you can be treated as soon as possible if this might occur.  This is also a rare complication of liposuction, but does pose a danger.

Blood Clots

There is a very small risk of blood clots, or thromboembolism, which can become loose and may travel to a major part of the body and clog up either a vein or an artery.  This can cause disease or death, although blood clots due to liposuction are very rare indeed. 

As medical advances, and advances into different forms of liposuction are furthered, the dangers and complications involved with liposuction are lessened.  However, there is always some element of danger when having any form of surgery and it is imperative that you are aware of all of the potential complications, and know what to look out for after your liposuction procedure. 

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