Exactly How Safe is Liposuction? By Joseph M. Brown, MD, FACS on December 30, 2019

Plastic surgery often comes with negative connotations in our society. Even as we espouse our admiration for the fittest and most attractive people, the collective understanding is that these are natural features, which lose their worth if artificially achieved. However, we have begun to slowly change our collective perceptions of plastic surgery, especially as it becomes safer and more subtle. With that in mind, it's time to take a close look at liposuction safety.

Safety and Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery is safer than it has ever been before. Now, of course, as with any procedure, there are some risks involved. The level of risk will depend on the type of procedure and your personal medical history, so make sure you discuss all possible risks with your doctor as well as the likelihood of complications. You’ll be surprised how low they usually are, but it is always best to be a well-informed patient.

In terms of liposuction safety, the actual risks are minimal, mostly due to the fact that the procedure isn’t particularly invasive. That being said, there are a few rarer complications that can occur but are typically not a concern if your procedure is being carried out by a specialist certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

In fact, by looking at more than one thousand cases of serious complications resulting from liposuction, researchers were able to determine that the vast majority would have been prevented through the use of a proper safety protocol. The study, which is published in the Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons indicates that a properly trained and certified plastic surgeon will rarely if ever cause a patient serious harm during the liposuction process.

Liposuction Safety and Risks

Dr. Joseph M. Brown of Tampa Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery explains that liposuction is a fat removal technique that requires a hollow tube, or cannula, to be inserted into an incision over a fat deposit. Once inserted, the cannula is used to suction fat away from the body, reducing the size of the overall fat deposit.

Generally speaking, the procedure is safe, given the rarity of severe complications under appropriate care. There are, however, some common side effects as well as some potentially serious complications you should take into consideration. Feel free to ask your surgeon about their own track record to ensure you’re receiving the best care.

Typical Side Effects, which will subside with time

  • Bruising
  • Soreness
  • Swelling
  • Drowsiness due to anesthesia

Moderate Complications, which may require revision (Note: These don’t happen very often)

  • Fluid Accumulation
  • Irregular Contour
  • Rippling or Loose Skin
  • Infection
  • Burns

Serious Complications, which may require immediate surgery (Note: These are exceedingly rare under a qualified surgeon’s care)

  • Damage to internal organs in the case of a cannula puncture
  • Fat Embolism
  • Lidocaine Toxicity
  • Kidney and Heart problems in response to the procedure.

Making the Right Choice for You

Given the serious nature of the most severe complications to ever occur during liposuction, making the decision to have liposuction shouldn’t be taken lightly. You’ll want a plastic surgeon, with the great track record, and you will want to look at all of your options. Fortunately, Dr. Joseph M. Brown practices SAFE liposuction, which uses additional equipment to help prevent complications. It comes in these forms.
  • Ultrasound Assisted Liposuction: This approach melts fat on contact, helping to create a more even contour. It’s most suitable for denser areas of fat. Once the ultrasound waves have melted the fat down, a traditional cannula removes it.
  • Laser Assisted Liposuction: A less invasive procedure than traditional liposuction, as the required implement is much smaller. However, there are limits to what areas can be targeted based on your individual body composition.

Alternatives to Liposuction

If you are still concerned about liposuction safety, then there are several non-surgical treatments available, which can subtly reduce the appearance of fat. Talk to your Tampa cosmetic surgeon, Dr. Brown to learn more.

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Dr. Joseph Brown

Plastic Surgery

A board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Dr. Joseph M. Brown strives to provide patients with transformative, yet natural results in a safe and comfortable environment. When you choose him as your provider, he will develop a patient-doctor relationship based on honesty, trust, and a clear understanding of a common goal. He is affiliated with organizations such as the:

  • American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons
  • Florida Medical Association
  • American Medical Association
  • American College of Surgeons

To get started, request an appointment using our form or call (813) 258-2425.

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