Plastic surgery gets a bad rep despite how it yields beautiful, natural-looking results with less complications than you’d think.

Liposuction, sometimes referred to as “lipo” by patients, slims and reshapes areas of the body by removing excess fat and improving body contours.

WHAT IS LIPOSUCTION?

Well… lipo means fat, so liposuction literally translates to ‘fat suction’ (fit, right?!). It’s a form of surgery that removes fat from areas of the body – usually hips, thighs, bum, arms or neck – that haven’t shifted with dieting and exercising. By suctioning out the excess fat, it reduces the amount of fat cells in a specific area. It’s a common misconception that liposuction can be used as a quick weight loss technique- we’d rather call it `body sculpting`. To be considered for liposuction you need to be within 30% of your ideal weight, so if you’re above/below this, you might be advised to consider a different form of fat reduction surgery.

IS LIPOSUCTION DANGEROUS?

Like all surgeries, liposuction comes with unlikely (but still possible) risks. However, when it’s done by experienced, qualified professionals the risk is dramatically reduced – and if complications do arise, they’re well prepared and experienced enough to deal with it. It’s important that you take the time to research your surgeon and chosen cosmetic provider, and don’t allow yourself or anybody else to make a rushed decision.

WHEN LIPOSUCTION CAN GO WRONG

So, when is liposuction dangerous? Liposuction can be dangerous if your surgeon is inexperienced or your chosen hospital is negligent and doesn’t offer the highest quality of care possible. Additionally, it can be dangerous when it’s sold as a miracle cure for obesity or if too much fat is removed from a body area. Body sculpting is an art, not a science! Another problem that can occur is with the saline solution that helps to loosen and liquidise the fat. When it’s removed it causes a significant loss in body fluid and results in a sudden drop in blood pressure. These vital fluids need to be replaced quickly and balanced correctly, and a qualified provider will know exactly how to do this. Infection is an unlikely (but possible) side effect of liposuction. This is due to lower hospital hygiene standards and poor-quality aftercare. It’s thought the risk of infection is dramatically less when having liposuction in the UK, as hygiene laws are in place and high aftercare standards are offered as part & parcel.

IS LIPOSUCTION SAFE?

So, to answer the question of is liposuction safe? Yes, when done correctly by experienced surgeons and in a reputable hospital. It’s never a good idea to pay bargain prices for something as serious as surgery. Where the deals may seem too good to pass up, you’ll often be left with results that aren’t at all how you dreamed. We understand that choosing to have cosmetic surgery is a big decision, which is why we’ll always be available to answer any possible questions you may have and support you throughout your journey, from your first consultation, right through to your aftercare. Liposuction is a surgery, and surgeries inherently have risks. That doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, however. Liposuction is actually very safe if you visit a board-certified surgeon. Here are the pros:

  • Give you the ability to target even small areas for personalized treatment
  • Can improve your appearance and confidence
  • Easily combined with other procedures, such as a tummy tuck
  • Offers immediate results
  • Provides permanent fat reduction
  • Reveals muscle tone and improves your figure

What about those cons? These risks are more apparent in cheap surgeries performed by non-professionals. The need-to-know risks are:

  • Healing time, as it limits what you can do for up to six weeks
  • Infections
  • Potential reactions medications like anesthesia
  • Rare complications such as thrombophlebitis or pulmonary embolism
  • Scarring
  • Temporary side effects such as swelling, numbness and bruising

Are There Any Alternatives to Liposuction?

As you can see, liposuction has more benefits than it does risks, but what do you do if surgery doesn’t feel right for you? Non-surgical body contouring might be ideal. These alternatives to liposuction include CoolSculpting, UltraShape, and more. Non-surgical body contouring offers benefits such as a surgery-free experience without anesthesia, prolonged downtime, scarring, chance of infection, and more. That being said, it can take longer before you see results, which may not be as dramatic as liposuction results.

What does it involve?

Liposuction is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, although an epidural anaesthetic may be used for liposuction on lower parts of the body. The surgeon would mark on your body the area where fat is to be removed. They would then:

  • inject this area with a solution containing anaesthetic and medicine, to reduce blood loss, bruising and swelling
  • break up the fat cells using high-frequency vibrations, a weak laser pulse or a high-pressure water jet
  • make a small incision (cut) and insert a suction tube attached to a vacuum machine (several cuts may need to be made if the area is large)
  • move the suction tube back and forth to loosen the fat and suck it out
  • drain any excess fluid and blood
  • stitch up and bandage the treated area

This usually takes 1 to 3 hours. Most people need to stay in hospital overnight.

Afterwards

After the procedure, you’d be fitted with an elasticated support corset or compression bandages. This helps to reduce swelling and bruising, and should be worn constantly for several weeks after the operation. You may need to take antibiotics straight after the procedure to reduce the risk of infection. Most people also take mild painkillers to ease any pain and swelling.

Recovery

If you had a general anaesthetic, someone would need to drive you home and stay with you for the first 24 hours. How long it will be before you are able to return to work will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of job that you do and how much of your body was treated. The same will apply to how long it will be before you are able to drive. You should discuss this with your surgeon. The bandage or corset can be taken off while you shower. You will need to avoid strenuous activity for up to 4 to 6 weeks (but walking and general movement should be fine). The results of the procedure are not always noticeable until the swelling has gone down. It can take up to 6 months for the area to settle completely. After about a week: Stitches would be removed (unless you had dissolvable stitches). At 4 to 6 weeks: You should be able to resume any contact sports or strenuous activities you’d normally do.

Side effects to expect

It’s common after liposuction to have:

  • bruising and swelling, which may last up to 6 months
  • numbness, which should go away in 6 to 8 weeks
  • scars
  • inflammation of the treated area, or the veins underneath
  • fluid coming from the cuts
  • swollen ankles (if the legs or ankles are treated)

What could go wrong

Liposuction can occasionally result in:

  • lumpy and uneven results
  • bleeding under the skin (haematoma)
  • persistent numbness that can last for months
  • changes in skin colour in the treated area
  • a build-up of fluid in the lungs (pulmonary oedema) from the fluid injected into the body
  • a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • damage to internal organs during the procedure

Any type of operation also carries a small risk of:

  • excessive bleeding
  • developing a blood clot in a vein
  • infection
  • an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic

The surgeon should explain how likely these risks and complications are, and how they would be treated if they occurred. Occasionally, people find the desired effect was not achieved and feel they need another operation.

What to do if you have problems

Cosmetic surgery can sometimes go wrong and the results may not be what you expected. You should contact the clinic where the operation was carried out as soon as possible if you have severe pain or any unexpected symptoms. If you have liposuction and are not happy with the results, or you think the procedure was not carried out properly, you should take up the matter with your surgeon through the hospital or clinic where you were treated. If you have concerns about your care, you should contact the CQC. If necessary, you can make a complaint about a doctor to the GMC. For more information, read the Royal College of Surgeons’ advice on What if things go wrong?

Who should not have it

Liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, and it will not remove cellulite or stretch marks. It’s only really suitable for people who have tried changing their lifestyle and found this has not helped.

What Are The Dangers of Undergoing Lipo?

The cosmetic field is an intricate sector which can pose beneficial results if performed correctly. According to a report carried out by Plastic Surgery.org, there were roughly 265,209 liposuction procedures in America around the year 2019. Despite the fat loss advantages and improvement in aesthetics, liposuction can pose detrimental effects to your health if done poorly. In today’s article, we discuss the dangers of undergoing lipo.

1. Bruising

Bruising is a common symptom that occurs after a liposuction procedure. It can be painful at first, but after two weeks or so, the sensation gradually fades. However, there are cases where extreme bruising occurs among patients under the prescription of medications like aspirin. Adhere to medicines that aren’t prescribed by your doctor.

2. Anesthesia Risks

During your liposuction procedure, anesthesia is administered to carry out the surgery. However, the application of general anesthesia can cause the following risks:

  • Sore Throat – When you are unconscious, a long tube will be pushed down your throat to breathe. After surgery, once the pipe is extracted, you can experience a sore throat.
  • Muscle Aches – As you regain consciousness, your muscles will feel heavy and painful due to the medications used to relax them.
  • Nausea – Vomiting is a common side effect that is associated with post-surgery.
  • Hypothermia – Under the influence of anesthesia, your body experiences different temperature changes as you lie unconscious during liposuction causing chills and shivering. Severe effects can lead to malignant hypothermia, which can be fatal.

3. Infection

Every patient undergoing a liposuction operation is at risk of contracting an infection. Your surgeon should carry out precautions during and after the procedure to mitigate the risk. If not, patients can experience severe side effects, such as staphylococcal abscess, necrotizing fasciitis, and toxic shock syndrome. However, with a qualified doctor, you can prevent further complications from arising.

4. Swelling

Swelling is a typical side effect of a successful liposuction procedure. Clients often feel disconcerted after seeing swelling. This is not a sign that the operation failed, but instead, it is a common reaction. After a few months or so, patients will witness their new-found body results when the swelling subsides.

5. Poor Healing

Delayed wound healing is a common danger associated after lipo, which poses an increased risk of infections. A few things can prevent patients from recuperating well, such as not eating the right foods, alcohol, smoking, and strenuous activity. The poor performance of the surgery can result in slow-healing wounds. For any medical assistance to poor healing, seek consultation services from qualified practitioners at The Naderi Center.

6. Irritable Skin Sensation or Numbness

As a patient’s skin recovers, they are bound to experience severe itching and skin irritation. Scratching will only increase the chance of swelling and bleeding. Furthermore, administering local anesthesia dulls the nerves causing one to experience numbness or even paralysis and severe heart arrhythmia if overdosed. While the effects are discomforting, it will usually take two to three weeks for your skin to heal.

7. Fluid Build-Up

Seroma, also known as the fluid build-up, is often associated with surgical procedures, including liposuction. Spots, where the tissue was extracted, tend to fill with fluids known as serum. This swelling can accumulate for weeks on end after the procedure. Failure to discharge the serum will lead to infections such as fever, rapid heart rate, chills, severe swellings, and discomfort. It is imperative to have your doctor check up on this to mitigate any complications.

8. Contours and Asymmetries to Body Shape

A negative implication linked to liposuction is the appearance of displeasing bumpy skin. Depending on the patient’s BMI, age, and skin elasticity, the way the skin contours can be uneven and irregular. Liposuction involves the immediate removal of fat at once. Obese patients will have a hard time after liposuction as their skin melds and show extreme stretch marks and weak elasticity. This poses a danger to how well internal organs will sit and can cause severe discomfort and pain. To eradicate loose skin, one needs to undergo plastic surgery to alleviate this problem. This can end up exposing them to further risks of infections, swelling, and the formation of new wounds/scars.

9. Fat Embolism

Fat embolism is a syndrome correlated to liposuction. When fat tissue in the body experiences extensive damage, it breaks apart and then finds its way into the bloodstream ending up in the brain, lungs, and heart, thus clogging blood vessels. While the mortality rate of fat embolism is 5 to 15%, it is a severe medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.

10. Thermal Burns from Ultrasound and Laser Lipo

Experiencing a burn-related injury is an extreme complication resulting from ultrasound and laser liposuction. These burns are life scarring and can end up damaging your organs. Aggressive surgeons tend to increase the risk of injuries during fat extraction, so it is imperative to seek a gentle doctor. Our trained doctors at The Naderi Center can offer suitable tender treatment while guaranteeing your safety.

11. Damage to Abdominal Organs, Muscles, and Nerves

The nerves that reside between the internal oblique, organs, and abdominal muscles are prone to puncture damage during the fat removal process, such as the liver, and kidneys. This can result in internal bleeding or Deep Vein thrombosis (DVT), a catastrophic condition where blood clots form in the veins, organs, brain, and leg, leading to consequential effects if not treated soon.

Call our to Learn More About Liposuction and Its Benefits!

Does liposuction hurt?

Liposuction surgery itself is not painful. As long as anesthesia medications are used and the operation is performed in an accredited surgical facility by a board certified plastic surgeon, liposuction should be a relatively pain-free experience

Can fat come back after lipo?


Woman measuring her waist with a measuring tape in a beauty salon

Fat Can’t Grow Back By removing fat cells significantly improves the aesthetics of the treated area. Once fat cells have been removed through liposuction, those cells cannot grow back, and we cannot develop new fat cells