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Is Lipo Safe?

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About Liposuction Safety

Author: Letty's Staff Writer

Is liposuction safe?... Hmmmm.

Good question. The answer however is one of those dreaded, "It depends" sorts of answers.

The truth of the matter is that a number of factors come into play when considering liposuction's risks, and ensuring your personal safety.

This article - hopefully - will make it a little easier for you when deciding on your own liposuction surgery.

Lipo isn't major surgery... so what's the big deal?

Is Lipo Safe: Answer #1

Liposuction surgery is major surgery...

It bears repeating, so here goes... LIPO IS MAJOR SURGERY! Liposuction involves anesthesia, incisions into the skin, and significant tissue disruption, and damage.

Is lipo safe?...

That's right damage.

Every surgery involves highly controlled damage to intact tissues. The surgeon takes you apart to put you back together in a new and – hopefully – improved way... It's a very precise, meticulous, and potentially dangerous science. So having said that...

So - is lipo safe?... Well, it's NOT something to be taken lightly - that's for sure.

What are the risks of liposuction surgery?

Is Lipo Safe: Answer #2

Let's talk about the potential risk.

Liposuction may not be the most invasive surgery that directly involves life-sustaining organs such as the brain or heart – but there are significant potential risks to discuss.

  1. Infections – Infections can become serious issues. Open wounds can become contaminated – both during, and after the operation. Great care must be taken to follow after-care instructions properly and to keep your surgical wounds clean.
  2. Embolisms – These "clots" may occur when loosened fat enters the bloodstream through blood vessels ruptured during liposuction. Pieces of fat can travel through the vascular system to the lungs, or even the brain potentially causing permanent disability or, in some cases, even death.
  3. Puncture wounds in the organs – Visceral perforations may require surgery for repair. These may occur either because the surgeon is being too aggressive in breaking up and suctioning the fat and pierces the underlying tissues, or because these tissues are so fragile that they therefore are unable to protect the underlying organs from the brisk back and forth motions necessary during a liposuction surgery.
  4. Seromas or hematomas – These are poolings of serum or blood in areas where tissue has been disturbed or removed. After surgery this can be visualized as large areas of bruising and, or discoloration underneath the skin. However, these "bruises" are usually temporary and generally disappear with recovery and healing.
  5. Paresthesias – Parenthesias are changes in sensation that may be caused by nerve compression at the site of the liposuction surgery. This may either be in the form of an increased sensitivity and pain, or numbness in the area. In some cases, these changes in sensation may be permanent.
  6. Swelling – Swelling and fluid retention - in some cases - may persist for weeks or months after liposuction.
  7. Skin necrosis – Or tissue "death" occurs when the skin above the liposuction site changes color and falls off. Large areas of skin necrosis may become infected with bacteria or microorganisms further complicating recovery.
  8. Burns – These can occur during ultrasound- assisted liposuction if the ultrasound probe becomes hot.
  9. Fluid imbalance – This may impact you after you go home. The condition can result in serious ailments such as heart problems, excess fluid collecting in the lungs, or kidney problems.
  10. Toxicity from anesthesia – The use of lidocaine, a skin-numbing drug, can cause lightheadedness, restlessness, drowsiness, a ringing in the ears, slurred speech, a metallic taste in the mouth, numbness of the lips and tongue, shivering, muscle twitching and convulsions. Lidocaine toxicity may also cause the heart to stop.

How can I decrease my risks of something going wrong during surgery?

Is Lipo Safe: Answer #3

During surgery you are literally in the hands of your surgeon and his or her team.

The best thing you can do to insure that you are in the best possible hands is to do your homework. Figure out what the qualification of your liposuction doctor are before you go under the knife.

And, finally insist that those qualifications be impeccable.

How can I decrease my risks post-surgery?

Is Lipo Safe: Answer #4

After surgery it is important to make sure that you follow the surgeon's instructions to the letter.

If your surgeon has asked you to stop smoking until you are completely healed – and you insist on continuing to smoke you will of course increase your risk for post-surgical complications.

Another thing you can do to make sure your recovery goes as well as possible is to make sure that you watch out for possible complications.

If you feel something isn't quite right about what you are experiencing after your surgery – then get to the doctor right away. It is far better to be a little paranoid and slightly over-reactive than it is to tolerate a possible threat to your health.

Get to the doctor. Let her put your fears to rest, or treat the arising side-effect properly.

What is the take-home here?

The short answer to the question, "Is lipo safe?" would be that there are risks for every plastic surgery procedure. No – it is not entirely safe. However, if you compare the safety of liposuction to say – brain surgery – then yes it is a safer surgery.

But liposuction is major surgery with very real consequences and potential negative side-effects.

So in order to make sure that you are getting the safest liposuction procedure that you can possibly get – a few guidelines should be followed:

First, you should interview at least three potential surgeons. Do this so that you can pick the absolute best person who appears to be the most thorough and knowledgeable. It is no secret that when you go into a surgery your life is literally in the hands of your surgeon. Make sure that this individual is qualified, experienced, and concerned about you.

Another necessary preparation is to check on the credentials of each of your potential surgeons for yourself. Make sure that they are certified to perform your liposuction procedure.

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Is Lipo Safe? References:

  • "Liposuction." Editors of Salem Press. Magill's Medical Guide, 4th Rev. ed. 12-01-2008.

  • "The Skinny on Liposuction." USA Food and Drug Administration - Consumer Halth Information. (From Web January 20, 2010) http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/liposuction082007.html

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Letty's Liposuction Directory

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