Liposuction Risks & Side Effects

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Like all surgeries liposuction does contain certain, unavoidable risks.

  • Allergies to anaesthetics – Obviously any allergies you are known to have need to be disclosed to your surgeon, however sometimes allergies aren’t known.
  • Build up of fluids from tumescent injections - Tumescent injections are now used with most forms of liposuction, and are relatively safe.  Sometimes too much can be injected, leading to a build up of fluid which can migrate and settle near the lungs.  This can lead to serious health problems. 
  • Seroma - This is when your body reacts to the fat cells being removed by producing fluid to fill the void left behind.  This may be avoided by your surgeon as long as they are experienced and aware of the risk
  • Bleeding/bruising - This is seriously reduced now that ‘dry’ liposuction methods are no longer used.  Sometimes the trauma caused to the surrounding tissues of the fat cells being removed can lead to bleeding, and in extreme cases to heamatoma.  This is rare, but can be quite serious needing more surgery to remove the blood clots
  • Infection - This is the main risk of any surgery, but is quite reduced in liposuction because the wounds are small and take little time to heal.  However, infections can be very serious and need to be treated as soon as possible with antibiotics to ensure a full recovery.
  • Uneven fat distribution - Sometimes a surgeon might miscalculate the amount of fat that needs to be removed and cause misshaped or uneven body contours.  The risk of this happening can be reduced by ensuring that your surgeon is properly qualified and experienced in performing liposuction procedures.
  • Nerve damage - Sometimes the nerves surrounding the area being treated lose their sensitivity leading to a loss of sensation.  This normally rectifies itself within a couple of months but sometimes the effects are permanent.

Liposuction does contain elements of risk, as does all forms of surgery, but these are becoming less and less as new techniques allow for minimal invasion into the body.  Fat cells are now more likely to be localised and targeted independently of the tissues around them.  This means that the rest of your body is likely to be unaffected by liposuction.  The best way to reduce all risks within liposuction is to be completely honest to your surgeon about any health problems or concerns, to ensure that your surgeon holds all the relevant qualifications to perform liposuction and the type of liposuction that you are having, and to lead as healthy a lifestyle before and after the operation as possible.

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