What are some IUD Complications?

Possible complications include infections, emboli, puncture wounds, pooling of serum, paresthesias, swelling, burns, necrosis, kidney problems, toxicity and others.

Infections may happen after any surgery including liposuction.  Many physicians prescribe antibiotics for all liposuction patients but some do not.  Keep the wound clean. Infection may come from the surgery itself.

Infections can sometimes be serious or life threatening. Toxic shock syndrome is one example of a serious and sometimes fatal infection caused by bacteria associated with surgery. You may recognize toxic shock syndrome as a risk with tampon use also. Another serious infection is necrotizing fasciitis which occurs when bacteria eat away at tissue.

An embolism may occur when fat is loosened and enters the blood stream through blood vessels ruptured (broken) during liposuction. Pieces of fat may get trapped in the blood vessels, gather in the lungs, or be carried to the brain.

Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing are both signs of pulmonary emboli (fat clots in the lungs). If you have these symptoms after liposuction you must seek immediate emergency medical care.  Fat emboli can cause permanent disability or be fatal.

During liposuction, the physician cannot see where the probe is inside your body. Puncture wounds may happen to your internal organs.  It is possible to damage internal organs during liposuction.  Intestines for example may be punctured during abdominal liposuction.  Surgery may be necessary to repair damaged organs.  Visceral perforations may be fatal.

After liposuction, there may be a pooling of serum, the straw colored liquid from your blood, in areas where tissue has been removed.

Paresthesias, altered sensation, sometimes happen at the site of the liposuction. This could be pain due to increased sensitivity or numbness due to loss of feeling in the area. If these changes in sensation persist for a significant period of time (weeks or months) inform your physician. Sometimes these changes in sensation are permanent.

Sometimes swelling may persist for weeks or months after liposuction.  Edema is common after liposuction.

Necrosis above the liposuction site may happen. The skin may die. It changes color and is sloughed (falls) off. If it is a large area of skin necrosis it may become infected with bacteria or microorganisms.

During ultrasound assisted liposuction, the ultrasound probe may cause burns because it can become very hot.Fat tissue contains a lot of liquid and is removed during liposuction. As part of the procedure, physicians may inject large amounts of fluids during liposuction. This can result in a fluid imbalance.

The medical staff will monitor you for signs of fluid imbalance during your stay at the surgical center or hospital. But you should be aware that this can happen after you go home. It can result in serious conditions such as heart problems, excess fluid collecting in the lungs, or kidney problems as your kidneys work to maintain fluid balance.

Toxicity from anesthesia is another risk factor.  Lidocaine is frequently used as a local anesthetic during liposuction. This drug numbs the skin. You may be familiar with it from your dentist because it is related to Novocain to numb your mouth. 
Lidocaine may be injected with large volumes of liquid during liposuction. This can result in very high doses of lidocaine. The signs of this are restlessness, lightheadedness, drowsiness, slurred speech, tinnitus (a ringing in the ears), metallic taste in the mouth, shivering, numbness of the lips and tongue, or muscle twitching and convulsions.

Lidocaine toxicity can cause coronary arrest, which is fatal.  Any type of anesthesia may cause complications and is considered a standard risk during surgery.

People can die from the liposuction process. It is difficult to say with certainty how often it happens.  There are numerous reports of deaths related to the liposuction procedure. Several studies estimate how often patients undergoing liposuction die during the procedure or as a result of it. But the results are only estimates.

Some studies indicate that the risk of death due to liposuction is as low as 3 deaths for every 100,000 liposuction operations. Other studies show the risk of death is between 20 and 100 deaths per 100,000 liposuction procedures.

One study suggests that the death rate is higher in liposuction surgeries when other surgical procedures are performed at the same time.  To put these numbers in perspective one report compares deaths from liposuction to deaths from car accidents (16 per 100,000).

Remember liposuction is a surgical procedure and there may be serious complications, including death. Before liposuction, you should have a complete physical exam so that your doctor can determine if you are a viable candidate for this treatment. 

Be sure to discuss any medical conditions that you have and tell your doctor about ALL medications you are taking including herbal or non-prescription ones. If your doctor decides that you can have liposuction, discuss the procedure thoroughly with him or her before deciding if you want to go through with the procedure.

Just because a doctor says you are an acceptable candidate for liposuction does not mean you must have liposuction. It is your body. You can still change your mind. It is after you discuss the procedure with your doctor that you are in a better position to make an informed decision.

Your doctor should be able to answer your questions about liposuction.  This includes questions about what to expect during and after liposuction, complications that might arise, and anything else that troubles you about the procedure. Some physicians provide written information about liposuction. Go ahead and take information from this website to discuss at your next doctor appointment. 

Try to get a friend or someone to drive you to your appointment for liposuction. You are likely to be tired or uncomfortable and not feel like driving home. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor before the day of your liposuction procedure.

Your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic for you to take before and after the surgery as part of preventing infections.

On the day of your liposuction surgery, your physician will mark your body with a pen to show where the fat is to be removed. Anesthesia is next. That is medicine that prevents you from feeling pain. Some doctors use local anesthesia injected into the area where liposuction will be performed.

Anesthetic medicine is injected with a large quantity of fluid, like buffered salt water and epinephrine (a drug to reduce bleeding). It may take a lot of injected liquid until the skin is very firm. If your doctor uses a local anesthesia, also called tumescent anesthesia, you will be awake during the procedure. Other physicians add a sedative to the local anesthesia. The sedative may be taken orally or injected.  Others use general anesthesia which puts you to sleep for the procedure. This is generally done in a hospital.

When the anesthesia is working, your doctor makes an incision (cut) where liposuction is to be performed. A cannula is a hollow tube about the size and shape of a skinny pen. A cannula is inserted into the incision. The doctor gently moves this tube instrument back and forth to suction the fat out. All of the fat and liquid that has been injected is collected in a flask.

Your doctor monitors how much fluid and fat are removed. To replace some of that fluid loss an intravenous (IV) line is used.  You can only lose a certain amount of fluid without having electrolyte imbalances.

Your departure time depends on several factors. One is the amount of fat removed.  Another is where the surgery was performed (doctor's office, surgical center or hospital). You might be able to leave the doctor’s office soon after surgery or you may spend the night at the hospital or surgery center.  Find out from you doctor how long it will be before you can return to normal activities.  Find out if you will need to miss work after liposuction.

The places where the cannula was inserted may continue to leak or drain fluids for several days.  Sometimes your doctor will insert a drainage tube to assist with draining fluid away from the wound. 

After your liposuction procedure you need to wear special tight garments to keep your skin compressed. Your physician will prescribe how long you need to wear these. It is usually for weeks.  Sometimes doctors have these garments for you as part of their package. Other doctors tell you where you can buy them before your surgery.

After-surgery instructions are very important. The doctor explains what you need to do and gives you these instructions so you will not forget. These instructions include information about:

  • wearing compression garments,
  • taking an antibiotic if that has been prescribed, and the
  • recommending your safe level of activity.

Be sure you also have information about potential problems and how to recognize them. For example, how will you know you have an infection that needs attention?

When the anesthesia wears off, you may discover some pain. If your pain is extreme or lasts a long time, contact your doctor.  Some swelling is normal after surgery. Sometimes the swelling remains for weeks or months. Pain and swelling might be a sign of infection so you ought to contact your doctor to be sure. Your scars will usually be small where the physician cuts your skin to insert the canula.

Medical complications are important to remember. Nonetheless keep in mind that the primary reason people elect to have this surgery is for cosmetic reasons. The cosmetic effect after liposuction is likely to be very good and many patients are satisfied.

Some people discover the cosmetic effect will not be what they expected. Your appearance after liposuction may not be what you wanted.
Most physicians advise their patients to be realistic about their post-surgery expectations. It can be difficult to have reasonable expectations after seeing all of the commercials and after reading advertisements and pictures of women and men who have had liposuction.

Remember advertising is designed to make you want to purchase something. Ads do not tell you about shortcomings or problems with the service.

Cosmetic shortcomings after liposuction may include:

scars at the site where the doctor made the cut to insert the liposuction canula. These scars are usually small and fade with time but in some people, scars may be larger or more prominent.

  • A wavy or bumpy appearance at the liposuction site.
  • Liposuction results are not permanent. If you gain weight after liposuction surgery, fat may return to sites where you had liposuction or to other sites.

Results may not meet your expectations and be disappointing.

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