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Risks and Complications

Like any medical procedure, liposuction surgery has risks and complications as well. Although most patients do not experience these complications, you should discuss them with your surgeon to make sure you understand all that surgery entails. Risks and complications include the following:


This type of complication happens when a loosened fat deposit enters the blood vessels and gathers in the lungs or travels to the brain. Consequently, embolism may lead to shortness of breath or difficulty in breathing. If these signs appear, you will need hospitalization and additional treatment. Fat emboli can be life-threatening or fatal in extremely rare cases.


Liposuction infections are rare but if they occur, treatment including antibiotics is necessary. In a few cases the infections may be life-threatening.

Skin necrosis.

Skin necrosis occurs as a result of infection.


A very common problem that may appear after liposuction is swelling or edema. This usually resolves within 4 to 12 weeks.


After liposuction, fluid can become trapped in a pocket under the skin, leading to swelling. Seromae may require drainage.

Nerve compression and changes in sensation.

An altered sensitivity (paresthesias) can be experienced as increased tenderness or loss of sensation in the treated area. Generally, this resolves over a period of time. However, in certain cases, this complication can be permanent.

Visceral perforations.

During the liposuction surgery, internal organs may be punctured or damaged. If organs are damaged, corrective surgery will be required.

Toxicity from anesthesia.

Generally, both local anesthesia and general anesthesia can produce complications during liposuction.

Fluid imbalance.

With some liposuction techniques, particularly the tumescent, a large amount of fluid is injected to the treatment area to make fat removal easier. This can lead to a fluid imbalance. If this complication is left untreated, it will cause kidney problems, heart problems or excess fluid collecting in the lungs.

More Information About Liposuction

Liposuction: Mid and Lower Body
Liposuction: Risks and Complications


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