What are the Risks and Complications of Liposuction?

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As with all surgeries, liposuction carries risks and can lead to dangerous complications. It is important that you are aware of these before making the decision to undergo liposuction. The best way to limit these risks is to visit a reputable and experienced surgeon. This will also mean that should any complications be developed they will be well equipped to treat them.

Lidocaine Poisoning

Lidocaine is one of the drugs used in the fluid used in wet liposuction techniques. Whilst it is normally used without, danger if too much is injected it can enter the blood stream and cause toxicity. There are no standardised levels for safe lidocaine injection and therefore it is essential that your surgeon is highly experienced in using it. You should avoid alcohol for at least two days before your liposuction to avoid lidocaine toxicity.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis can be a risk of any surgery. It is the formation of a blood clot in the deep veins of the leg, which appears due to immobility either during the surgery or during the recovery time. In order to combat this risk you should get up and walk as soon as possible after your surgery and will be advised as to when this is by your surgeon. If you notice any pain, redness, or swelling in one of your legs you should seek medical advice as deep vein thrombosis can be fatal if part of the blood clot breaks off.

Perforation of the Bowels

If you are having abdominal liposuction, there is a small chance that the cannula will perforate the bowels. This risk is greatly reduced by using a well- experienced surgeon with a good reputation. Perforation of the bowels can be fatal so it is important that your surgeon is experienced in operating in this area.

Shock and Dilution of the Blood

If you have a large amount of fat removed, your body can go into shock due to the large amounts of liquid inserted and removed. This risk increases the more fat that you have removed. Therefore, if you are considering large volume liposuction you should see a surgeon who specialises in it as it is a high- risk procedure.


Although the incisions made for liposuction are small, they do cause permanent scarring. Experienced surgeons place these incisions in natural folds of the body where they cannot be seen. Be best way to minimise scarring is to look after your body during the recovery period, this involves drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthily, and changing your dressings as required. Once you have healed you can reduce scarring by massaging the area and protecting your scars from sunlight. You can also apply scar reduction creams to the area.

Skin Irregularities and Discolouration

You can suffer from irregularities in the treatment area if the surgeon is inexperienced or not attentive enough. One big factor in this is the size of the cannula used; a large cannula can result in lumpy, uneven skin making the area appear irregular.

If the underside of the skin is damaged by the cannula during the liposuction procedure, you can be left with permanent discolouration at the treatment area. This can be avoided by using an experienced surgeon and cannot be treated once it has appeared.

Discolouration can also be caused where the skin cells are ruptured by the cannula. This causes them to release a pigment, which normally disappears within six months, although it may last longer in patients with darker skin tones.

Removing Too Much Fat

If too much fat is removed during a liposuction procedure, it can cause abnormal results making the area appear out of proportion with the rest of your body. Everyone's body needs a layer of fat and the removal of this can cause cosmetic and health complications.

When too much fat is removed, the skin over the area can die causing skin necrosis. This is due to the trauma caused to the blood vessels when too much fat is removed and can also be caused if the skin is damaged by the cannula.

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