How Dangerous Is Liposuction? 5 Terrifying Side Effects of Liposuction

Posted June 1, 2020 by in Health + Fitness
doctor doing liposuction

Back in 2016, 4% of US adults reported having undergone elective cosmetic surgery. Fast forward to 2018, and more Americans have had cosmetic surgery. In fact, during that year, surgeons completed a total of 17.7 million cosmetic procedures.

15% of that — or 258,588 surgeries — was for liposuction alone. That’s a 5% increase from the total liposuction procedures done the year before.

Before you jump on the liposuction bandwagon though, it’s a must to know if you’re a good candidate first. Otherwise, you’re putting yourself at risk of the side effects of liposuction. That’s right — there are quite a few liposuction risks, seeing as it is a type of surgical procedure.

The question now is, what exactly are these adverse effects and how dangerous are they? Is there any way to prevent them from occurring in the first place?

We’ll get to the bottom of all these questions below, so be sure to stick around!

  1. Pulmonary Thromboembolism

Worldwide, liposuction accounts for 15% to 20% of all types of surgical procedures. However, its popularity has also led to as much as a 5% increase in secondary complications.

Granted, most side effects of liposuction are minor. Still, some studies have found fatal consequences.

One of the dangers of liposuction found to cause deaths is pulmonary thromboembolism. Of all fatal cases secondary to the procedure, PTE is the most common — it accounts for almost one in four cases.

PTE is a blood clot that can break loose from the affected blood vessel. What makes it dangerous is that, once loose, it can travel through the bloodstream. It can then clog other blood vessels, such as those in the lungs, brain, GI, legs, or kidneys.

  1. Abdominal Visceral Injuries

These injuries affect the intestines, liver, spleen, and other parts of the abdomen. A study found that in 2017, between 7.81% to 14% of liposuction patients suffered these injuries. That makes them the second-most common cause of fatal complications following liposuction.

The study did say that the surgeon’s “experience” contributed to many of these injuries. The surgical techniques used, in particular, seem to be the main cause of the injuries.

The study also pointed out that these injuries also have to do with the patients’ body structure. Obese patients, for instance, are among those who had the highest risk factors.

  1. Internal Bleeding

Some abdominal injuries can go undetected, especially puncture wounds. In this case, it can lead to continuous internal bleeding. Left untreated, this can result in major blood loss.

Unfortunately, internal blood loss has occurred in some liposuction patients.

One review of studies found that 2.5% of the patients who had the surgery experienced major blood loss. Some of them had internal blood loss severe enough to require a blood transfusion.

Note that many cases of internal bleeding had to do with traditional lipo procedures. That’s because old-fashioned liposuction involves surgical incisions and the insertion of a cannula.

  1. Hemorrhagic Shock

People prone to bleeding are at a higher risk of hemorrhagic shock after surgery. This is a condition that results from huge amounts of blood loss.

While rare, some people have experienced a hemorrhagic shock after undergoing liposuction. This is especially true in cases of large-volume liposuction.

  1. Fluid Overload

Aggressive or large-volume liposuction involves the use of huge amounts of intravenous fluids. The thing is, this can cause the body to suffer from fluid overload. If this happens, pulmonary edema can occur due to too much fluid build-up.

Also, the rapid changes or shifts in the body’s fluid levels can cause serious organ problems. These include the heart, the lungs, and the kidneys.

So, Is Liposuction Ever a Good Idea?

If you’re still wondering, “should I get liposuction?”, you need to ask yourself first why you want to get it. Is it because you want to shed off a few pounds or is it because you think it will help you lose a lot of weight?

If your main reason is to eliminate stubborn fats that no amount of exercise seems to help with, lipo is an option. It can help you remove targeted fat deposits that proper diet and exercise can’t. These include fatty areas of the tummy, cheeks, chin, neck, upper arms, and even the chest.

However, if your goal is to lose a considerable amount of weight, liposuction isn’t a good idea. You should not treat this type of surgery as a weight-loss method. Moreover, you should not use it as an alternative to a healthy diet and adequate exercise.

Is Liposuction Safe At All?

Liposuction technology has evolved over time, so it is safer than it was decades ago.

That said, if you do decide to get liposuction, be sure to choose a board-certified doctor. Board-certified surgeons are conscientious doctors, so they make sure to fully screen patients.

This way, they can determine whether a patient is a good candidate for liposuction. If not, the surgeon will select a more appropriate, less-risky procedure.

Speaking of reduced risks, consider undergoing less minimally-invasive surgery. Advancements in liposuction now include ultrasound technology, which reduces the need for incisions.

Go to a Pro to Avoid Dangerous Side Effects of Liposuction

As you can see, there’s quite a long list of serious side effects of liposuction. However, many of these are preventable with proper patient screening. That’s why it’s a must that you choose only a licensed, board-certified surgeon.

Remember: liposuction is safe, provided that an experienced surgeon performs it. So, if you do push through with it, take as much time as possible to verify the surgeon’s credentials.  

Ready for more guides to help you get your health back in track? Then be sure to head over to the Health & Fitness section!