What are complications that can arise from liposuction?

Liposuction complications

Liposuction is a plastic surgery procedure that removes stubborn pockets of fat from various parts of the body, including face, legs, back and abdomen. These fat pockets are often hard to get rid of through diet and exercise alone. Each year thousands of patients safely undergo this procedure, but as with any surgery, there are associated risks, and it is important to understand complications that can occur with liposuction so that you are fully aware and make an informed decision if liposuction is right for you.

Liposuction burn (“lipo burn”)

While uncommon, burns can be caused if the surgeon is not taking steps to safely protect the skin during surgery. Removing too much fat can increase the chance of a lipo burn.  It can also be caused by high levels of heat associated with laser and ultrasound laser liposuction or due to friction from the cannula.

Uneven contours after liposuction

A very common issue post liposuction are contour irregularities that patients notice months after surgery once the swelling does down. Uneven fat removal, rippling, divots, dips and depressions along with skin elasticity problems can cause disappointing results.  

Loose skin after liposuction

Underneath the skin is a layer of fat, that once removed, may make the skin appear loose depending on your skin elasticity and how much fat is removed. If too much fat is removed, the skin could possibly recoil. Patients who experience significant weight loss or pregnancy, can mistake skin for fat leading them to have unrealistic expectations for end results. During the consultation process, it is important to discuss your body goals and your skin quality with your surgeon to determine if liposuction is the best procedure for you.

Bleeding and infection after liposuction

Bleeding and infection can occur after liposuction, but they are rare occurrences if you follow your pre and post operation instructions, and your surgeon takes all necessary safety precautions. Two-weeks prior to surgery you will be required to stop taking any anticoagulants and antiplatelets (medications that induce bleeding). After your surgery, you will be given antibiotics and step-by-step instructions to prevent infections.

Asymmetrical body contouring results

The goal is to create beautiful symmetrical results. However, our bodies are not perfectly symmetrical side to side.  Any asymmetries should be discussed with your surgeon at your pre-op appointment.

Skin sensation changes after liposuction

Numbness and sensitively at the treatment area are reported after liposuction by some patients. These post-op symptoms are temporary and should decrease over time.

Scarring

Liposuction incisions and scars are typically small and hidden. However, some patients tend to produce hypertrophic or keloid scarring.  Scars should be treated starting at 2 weeks post op with silicone based gels and strips to minimize the risk of hypertrophic or keloid scars.

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