Tumescent Liposuction Major Risks Considerations?

I am considering abdominal and bilateral flank tumescent liposuction but I am worried about major complications. I have a quality board certified plastic surgeon and I am a 43 yo male, 200#, in fairly good health (a little asthma). What are the odds of major issues like DVT, PE, Fat Embolis, etc. This will be under General Anesthesia (Propofol). Are there concerns with my asthma and general anesthesia?

Doctor Answers 8

LIposuction and sedation vs general anesthesia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuction can be done under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with or without sedation.

General anesthesia

  • Patient has less anxiety about being "aware" of surgery
  • Surgeon need focus less on quality of local anesthesia
  • Surgeon can move at a faster rate
  • Patient cannot assist with turning into the ideal position for treatment
  • Higher risk of DVT, PE and other complications associated with general anesthesia
  • Patient need recover from general anesthesia and its implications

Local anesthesia/ tumescent liposuction

  • Safer with a lower complication rate, particularly the significant complications
  • Much lower risk of DVT and PE (VERY low)
  • Requires more precise local anesthesia
  • Much easier recovery
  • Patient can help with ideal body positioning

I am not a surgical risk taker and NEVER do liposuction under general anesthesia.  I feel I can get better results with less risk and an easier recovery with local (tumescent) anesthesia and light sedation.

Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 185 reviews

Tumescent Lipo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

My biggest concern would be with your asthma. I would want to know what medication you take and how often. Do you use an inhaler often? When was the last time you had to go to the emergency room for an attack? If you were on little if any medication, haven't used an rescue inhaler in months and hadn't been in the ER in years, then office anesthesia would probably be safe. I would also have you get a clearance for surgery from your medical doctor along with any thing that he would recommend. Your other concerns are very rare occurrences. A proper office operating room would have intermittent compression sleeves to prevent DVT and PE. I have never seen a real fat embolus and doubt if they really occur from liposuction surgery. Hope this helps!

Tumescent liposuction can be done without general anesthesia or propofol

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

There's a lot of confusion about the term tumescent liposuction. I hope the following helps clarify.

In the 1980's a dermatologist named Jeff Klein developed a tumescent anesthesia solution formula that allowed liposuction to be done with only local anesthesia in awake patients. At that time liposuction was done with a hodgepodge of dry and wet techniques, but wasn't being done with local anesthesia. Patients were given general anesthesia.

Now, almost 30 years later, all liposuction is done with fluid, which creates tumescence (simply meaning swollen with fluid). But the term tumescent liposuction, as it was originally intended by Dr. Klein, means awake patients having liposuction with local anesthesia. This method eliminates the risks you mentioned you're concerned about, because those risks are risks associated with general anesthesia, and not liposuction per se. If you want to do the most you can to eliminate risk, then seek liposuction done with true tumescent local anesthesia liposuction.

You might also like...

The risk for major complications with liposuction is very low

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Liposuction is a very safe procedrue when done correctly. In a young, healthy person, the risk of major life-threatening complications is extremely low. Some may even say that your chance of getting into a car accident on the way to surgery is more likely than having a major complication. Ask your surgeon for the actual percentages, and as my colleague said, the risk will certainly increase with increased fat removal.

If you want safety, then you need to consider tumescent liposuction by a dermatologist

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your question about safety and all the risks that it entails doesn't show the main risk - generaly anesthesia.  Tumescent is safe for one reason - it doesn't have the risky general anesthesia as part of it. 

If you consider something as simple as dental work, there are rarely, if ever any complications of it that you hear about.  But when you go to any general anesthesia procedure where people are being put under, there are rare and serious complications and even deaths.  Luckily, when tumescent liposuction is performed with local anesthesia as the dermatologist who invented it, Dr. Jeff Klein, developed it, it is completely safe.

Can things still happen?  Yes, of course.  If you are not a good candidate, you shouldn't have it done for you.  But as the link below states, the main risks are with general.  Most plastic surgeons only do liposuction with general and most dermatologists only do it with local and that is why the risks are much less when going to a dermatologist for tumescent liposuction than a 'board certified plastic surgeon'.  Good luck!

Liposuction and risks

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

In general tumescent liposuction is a safe procedure. Complications increase with large volume removal and extended surgical times. 

Tumescent Liposuction Major Risks Considerations?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Thank you for your question. In every surgery, there are risks and complications.  I would recommend being treated under the supervision of a Board Certified Dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon for safest and best treatment option. I hope this helps.

Your risks are higher for serious complications if liposuction is performed under general anesthesia.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

General anesthesia relieves all pain during the procedure, but has a greater risk of post operative complications.

Mark Taylor, MD
Salt Lake City Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.