How Dangerous is Liposuction?

Where it used to be that cosmetic surgery wasn’t very common, and when you did have a procedure done it was very taboo and quiet, today, people have embraced it in a much more open manner. People are not only having more procedures done, but are making sure they do their research on the procedure, and getting it out in the open. With all that said, cosmetic surgery is just that – surgery – and people still need to proceed with caution and ensure they are the right candidate, and that they understand all the risks and benefits involved.

If you’ve been considering liposuction but are feeling a bit hesitant due to uncertainty around how dangerous it may or may not be, it’s important to take the time to actually do some research and ensure your concerns are addressed. So, just how dangerous is liposuction? Here we’ll take a look at some of the pros and cons to this procedure to help shed light on its risk factors.

Understand the Liposuction Process

The first issue to address is to familiarize yourself with what happens during the liposuction process. In a liposuction procedure, you will require anesthesia. This is of course to ensure that you don’t feel any sort of discomfort or pain during the process. 

The surgery itself involves removing excess fat from various areas on your body. You could have liposuction of the abdomen, thighs, arms, hips, back, neck, or your buttocks. Liposuction is meant to contour your body, not act as a weight loss solution. 

Expect Pain and a Recovery Period to Follow

In general, you can expect to feel a fair amount of discomfort after the surgery, and you will likely be subscribed pain medication to help manage it. You’ll also need to drink plenty of fluids, give yourself time to rest up, and wear specialized compression garments (depending on the procedure).

Most people are tender, swollen, and bruised for about 10-14 days, and then it starts to lessen. In general, the swelling will take about four weeks to completely disappear, and your recovery process could be 6-8 weeks.

Who Shouldn’t Get Liposuction?

Just like any surgery, liposuction carries a certain element of risk with it. What this means is that you should be an ideal candidate before deciding to go ahead with the surgery. There are certain factors that can put you at higher risk of severe complications, and your doctor will ask you about these. These risk factors include:

  • You have a weakened immune system
  • You are a smoker
  • You are overweight
  • You have chronic health issues
  • You currently take medications that can increase your risk of bleeding
  • You have a lot of saggy skin
  • You have been diagnosed with such issues as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), diabetes, seizures, or cardiovascular disease

The idea is that the benefits outweigh the risks, so if you fall into any of these abovementioned categories, it may not be worth it.

What are the Potential Complications that Can Arise?

While it’s wise to avoid liposuction if you have any of the pre-existing risk factors, those alone don’t guarantee you’ll avoid complications. Even seemingly healthy people who are ideal candidates can still have complications. This is major surgery, and things can happen.

Some of the most common complications that people may suffer as a result of liposuction include:

  • The build-up of fluid called seromas, which are fluid pockets that are temporary and start to form under your skin. In some cases, it may be necessary to have the doctor use a needle to drain them.
  • During surgery an internal puncture can happen, which could even hit an organ. If this occurs, you’ll need surgical repair.
  • During the recovery process, the area of incision can become infected. If not treated promptly, this can actually be deadly.
  • The area where the liposuction was done could experience a sense of numbness during your recovery process. This may go away over time, or it may prove to be permanent.
  • Results may not be as you hoped or expected. While you may have envisioned how your body would look after liposuction, it doesn’t mean the reality matches up. Sometimes you’ll be left with contour irregularities wherein your skin may look shriveled, wavy, or even bumpy. This can be due to a number of reasons and often these results end up being permanent.
  • You can also suffer heart and kidney problems thanks to a change in your body’s fluid levels. This can be so serious that it is life-threatening.
  • During the procedure, fat deposits can actually come loose and travel to a blood vessel, getting trapped in it. From there, that fat can quickly travel to the brain or lungs. This is called fat embolism and is extremely serious and dangerous.

At the end of the day, it’s wise to head into any medical procedure with confidence knowing that you’ve done your research, you’re an ideal candidate, and you’re aware of the potential risk factors.