Liposuction: The Benefits Versus the Dangers and Risks

The need to lose weight fast has increased the popularity of the liposuction procedure. Liposuction is the removal of fat from deposits underneath the skin by using a hollow stainless steel tube called a cannula with the assistance of a powerful vacuum. General or Heavy IV anesthesias are used during the procedure. Although great benefits can result from liposuction, there are more dangers and risks involved in the procedure.

The immediate benefits of liposuction can be both physical and mental. The procedure not only changes the way the patient looks, but it also changes the way others perceive them. It also changes the clothes they are able to wear. The patient is able to achieve the exact look that they want within the limits of technology and their body type. The procedure is now so advanced that the patient can choose an exact location where they want the fat to be removed from. It is like sculpting the body when exercise and dieting fail. The greatest mental benefit is that the patient gains an incredible boost of self-esteem.

The dangers and risks of liposuction include, but are not limited to, excess skin, contour irregularities, infection, organ damage, pulmonary embolism, lidocaine overdose, and death.

Lumps, bumps, asymmetry and irregular contours are a common unwanted result. More than 20 percent of patients have revisions made to improve contour irregularities.

Infections may be mild or severe. Doctors prescribe antibiotics after procedure to prevent infection before it has the chance to develop. When infections do occur they can be treated with oral antibiotics if they are caught early. Signs of infection include redness, increasing tenderness, red streaks visible on skin, vomiting, fevers over 101 degrees and chills.

Organ damage can occur because the surgeon is operating under the skin through a small incision and can’t see where the cannula is probing. This makes it possible to puncture internal organs such as the intestines. This could result in infections and the need for additional surgeries to repair the damaged organs.

Pulmonary embolism occurs when small pieces of fat dislodge during liposuction and travel to the lungs as pulmonary emboli. This results in difficulty in breathing and may require additional surgery. The greatest risk of pulmonary embolism is within the first three days.

Large amounts of lidocaine may be injected during liposuction and lidocaine toxicity may occur. Symptoms of a lidocaine overdose include lightheadedness, drowsiness, ringing in the ears, slurred speech, metallic taste in mouth, numbness of the lips and tongue, shivering, muscle twitching, convulsions and ultimately cardiac arrest.

Death is the greatest risk of liposuction. There are approximately three deaths for every 100,000 liposuction operations. The risk for death may increase when other surgeries are performed at the same time.

There were 455,489 liposuction procedures performed in 2005, making it the most popular cosmetic surgery of the year. The thighs and abdomen were the most common areas liposuctioned. The hips, buttocks and knees followed. Eighty percent of the patients were satisfied with the results and eighty six percent would recommend the procedure to family and friends.

The 2005 statistics may make liposuction more inviting to those who are considering the procedure, but the dangers and risks involved are too great to be ignored. Something that is supposed to make you healthier and make you feel better about yourself could turn into something that takes your life. Is the need to lose weight fast worth the risk?

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