Why do people die after liposuction?

March 17, 2020


Liposuction is the most popular plastic surgery procedure in the United States. It is one of the safest procedures and has a record of delivering effective outcomes. Despite its safety record, some people die after the surgery. Keep in mind that any procedure that involves incisions and the use of anesthesia entails risks. And liposuction is not free of risks.

It is crucial for the patient to discuss the risks with the surgeon during the pre-operative consultation. Furthermore, it is essential for the patient to be in good health to stay safe during and after the surgery. A good surgeon will help you analyze the risks and benefits of liposuction against your health. You should undergo the procedure only when the benefits are higher than the risks.

What is liposuction?

To understand why some people die after liposuction, you should first understand what the procedure is and how it is performed. Liposuction is a body contouring surgery. It is not a weight loss procedure, as many people think it is. Liposuction effectively treats a poorly shaped body resulting from the accumulation of stubborn fat pockets in localized areas of the body.

Many factors trigger the development of stubborn fat pockets in the body. These include aging, hormonal changes, weight gain, and the use of certain medicines. Getting stubborn fat deposits is undesirable, but the fact is that many people still suffer from the condition. The typical areas that get fat deposits include the abdomen, flanks, sides, upper back, love handles, and thighs.

Fat pockets affect your overall body outline and make you look unwelcoming. Women are incredibly conscious when it comes to their anatomy and contours. As such, a poorly contoured body affects their self-esteem. Most women desire to have a curvaceous, smooth, and shapelier body. Fortunately, liposuction has been developed to address contour issues resulting from excess body fat.

Liposuction is an outpatient procedure that is typically performed under local anesthesia or a combination of local anesthesia and IV sedation. During the consultation session, the plastic surgeon will examine the areas that need contouring and assess your overall health. Make sure to share your complete medical information with the doctor so that any associated risk can be prevented or reduced.

During the operation, the plastic surgeon will first make tiny incisions on the areas that need contouring. He will then introduce a tumescent solution into the area and insert a hollow tube called a cannula into the target area through the incision. The cannula is moved back and forth to dislodge the excess fat from the tissues. The fat is then removed with a suction pump and the incision is sutured and closed. The same process is repeated on all target areas until your body is contoured.

Why do people die after liposuction?

Now that you know what liposuction is and what it involves, you can easily understand why people die after the surgery. It is important to note that the percentage of people who diet after liposuction is extremely low. Death after liposuction is rare; however, it cannot be ruled out entirely.

You might be wondering as to why people die after such a simple procedure. Well, liposuction is a straightforward operation, but it still involves incisions and the use of anesthesia. It is an invasive procedure, and like all other invasive procedures, it entails risks.

When we look at the figures and reasons for people who died after liposuction, we find certain common factors that caused the deaths. Below are the leading factors that cause the death of patients after liposuction:

–    Poor health of the patient

–    Excessive fat removal

–    Using excessive fluids and anesthesia

–    Combo procedures

–    Blood clotting

The primary factor that increases the risk of death after liposuction is poor health of the patient. It is for this reason that the health of people who want to get liposuction is assessed thoroughly to make sure there is no serious health issue that may cause the death of the patient during or after the surgery.

The plastic surgeon will assess your overall health during the pre-operative consultation. It is also the responsibility of the patient to share his or her complete health and medication information with the doctor and not withhold any information. The plastic surgeon will check your medical history and make sure you are not suffering from any significant health problems.

People who have severe medical conditions should avoid undergoing surgery. For example, if you have a severe form of diabetes, heart disease, pulmonary problems, or blood disorder, you should avoid liposuction because the risks are higher for you.

The second leading cause of death after liposuction is the removal of more fat from the body in a single session. Many people assume that they can have as much fat removed from the body in a single session of liposuction as they want. However, the fact is that depending on your BMI and other factors, there is a limit to the amount of fat that can be removed from your body during one session of liposuction. In case that limit is considerably exceeded, it increases the risk of death of the patient.

It is vital for the patient to keep that limit in mind when removing fat from the body. If more fat removal is needed, the patient will be required to have multiple sessions at specified intervals. Also, make sure to choose your plastic surgeon carefully so that the risk of death after the surgery can be reduced.

As mentioned above, the surgery is invasive, which is why it is performed under local anesthesia. Besides local anesthesia, a tumescent solution is used during the operation so that the fat can be easily removed from the body. Some patients die after liposuction because of the use of more anesthesia and tumescent solution. It is essential that only a board-certified anesthesiologist should administer the anesthesia and the patient’s health should be monitored throughout the surgery. Also, a high amount of tumescent solution should be avoided.

It was also found in rare cases that patients die after liposuction when the procedure is performed in combination with other procedures. However, the good news is that over the years, much advancement has been made in plastic surgery and now it is safe for patients to undergo combo procedures, including liposuction. And the last factor that is held responsible for patient death after liposuction is blood clotting. This factor affects patients who have blood disorders and a history of blood coagulation.

How to reduce the risk of death after liposuction

The first and most important thing to ensure your safety after liposuction is to choose your plastic surgery very carefully. When selecting the surgeon, make sure he is board-certified and has many years of experience in liposuction. Also, check reviews of the surgeon on online forums and visit his website. Secondly, you should ensure that you are a good candidate for the operation.

If you are suffering from serious health issues, you should avoid undergoing liposuction because your health and life are far more critical than your aesthetic appearance. You should make a risk/benefit analysis of the procedure and undergo surgery only when the risks are lower than the benefits. Next, you should follow the plastic surgeon’s instructions for a smooth and safe operation and recovery.

Depending on your health, the surgeon may ask you to take certain medications. Be sure to follow the surgeon’s instruction. Also, if you are a smoker, you must stop smoking at least two weeks before the surgery and avoid smoking during the recovery period. Smoking can increase the risk of death after liposuction. You may be able to resume work one week after the surgery; however, you must avoid strenuous activities for 4-6 weeks afterwards.

Physically strenuous activities during the first four weeks following the operation will expose you to many risks that can even lead to death. These activities can cause wound dehiscence, infection, and excessive bleeding. As a result, your health may deteriorate. Be sure to avoid exercise, jogging, weight lifting, stretching, and bending for at least four weeks after the surgery. Furthermore, make sure to wear the compression garments for the time recommended by the surgeon. It will prevent complications and help you recover faster.


The number of people who have died after liposuction was higher in the 1970s; however, that number has gone down drastically over the years. Today, liposuction is safer than ever, and the risk of death after the surgery is very low. However, since the procedure is invasive and involves the use of anesthesia, we cannot rule out the risk of death entirely. There are many reasons why death happens after liposuction. I have explained those reasons above. I have also explained as to what you can do to decrease the risk of death. Make sure to discuss this topic with your plastic surgeon as well during the pre-operative consultation for liposuction.

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