Correcting Results and Hernia After Liposuction?

I have been told that the hernias which resulted from Liposuction are correctable through surgery, but can anything be done to correct the original Liposuction as well? Can the hernias be corrected by a plastic surgeon or do I need to have two separate surgeons?

Doctor Answers 7

You're lucky you're alive!

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Hernias are usually not caused by liposuction.  Usually physicians that are not trained as general surgeons prior to their plastic surgery training either don't diagnose OR ignore the presence of hernias before performing liposuction.  I have even heard one non-plastic surgeon say that they can do liposuction AROUND  the hernia.  This is extremely dangerous because the tube used for liposuction can pass through a hernia and puncture organs INSIDE your abdomen.

If the hernias ARE caused by the liposuction then you're still lucky to be alive (or at least don't have a colostomy bag) because this means that the doctor actually punctured the abdominal wall to create the hernias.

Either way you are fortunate that you did not have very serious injuries.

Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 298 reviews

Correcting Liposuction results and hernia

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Dear Teejay,

Truly sorry to hear about your ordeal.

I read your other post and have an IDEA of what may have happened. Having not been there i cannot be sure but having trained first as a general surgeon and then as a Plastic surgeon I can guess.

Although it CAN happen, in reality it is VERY uncommon for a board certified Plastic surgeon performing liposuction to penetrate the abdominal wall muscles and stab underlying structures (such as intestine, liver, spleen etc). This is more likely to happen when you have either a pre-existing hernia or a separation between the six pack muscles through which a loop of intestine can protrude ABOVE / outside the level of the muscles where it could be skewered by the liposuction tube. The result is an unrecognized hole in one or several intestine which results in peritonitis - inflammation of the abdominal wall lining (several belly pain, fevers, hardness). As you described it :"within 24hrs I had to 911 myself to the hospital " .

Since you did not get a colostomy, I assume the puncture was in the small intestine and that the intestine was repaired without having to create a colostomy for a while. The surgeon MUST have closed the midline muscles at the time. But - it sounds like 3 months later you developed 2 ventral hernias after the bowel repair procedure (" in February I noticed bumps and found out my intestines were protruding..resulting in two potential hernias surfacing."). This is NOT uncommon when surgeons are forced to close a contaminated belly especially in large people who cough or have COPD (former smokers).

UNLESS you have a medical condition you have not discussed, all things being equal, there is NO reason why these hernias cannot be fixed NOW and do not need to "wait until the legal battles settle" unless you want to wait. The vast majority of such hernias repairs are done by general surgeons who may be able to do it with an endoscope without cutting you again through the old scar. such an operation has a much quicker recovery and is the way my general surgery colleagues prefer.

Teejay, I know you are bitter and rightfully so. But, the vast majority of Plastic surgeons are ethical individuals who try to do the best they can for their patients. Unfortunately, complications DO occur. This makes it important to choose the surgeon who you trust the most to do his/her out most for you. More than that, no one should be expected to deliver.

Sorry about your ordeal.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Liposuction does not cause hernias.

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I'm not sure how you ended up with a hernia after liposuction.  If the surgeon caused this by violating the fascia, you might want to find a different surgeon to fix it.

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Hernias after liposuction?

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Hernias do not occur caused by liposuction. I have never seen such a case. That which is likely however is that the hernias were not recognized by your surgeon before liposuction and became more apparent after the fatty layer was thinned over them. Another possibility is that you just have lax abdominal wall muscle and your current doctor is simply explaining that to you as a hernia. Either way you need a proper evaluation by a real board certified plastic surgeon to sort this mess out.


Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

Hernias and liposuction

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Developing a hernia from liposuction is extremely unusual unless you had trauma from the liposuction cannulas itself. 

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

A hernia should never occur after a liposuction

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Liposuction is a popular and effective way to contour the body. When we perform this procedure, we create a small incision in the skin but we never make an incision in the fascia which is the covering of the muscle. Hernias are the result of incision or weakening in the muscle or fascia.

Your best bet is to be examined by a board-certified plastic surgeon who has a great deal of experience in the body contouring and abdominal surgery. If you have a hernia from a different procedure a great deal of caution must a taken when performing liposuction as you do not want the liposuction to injure the intestine that may be in the hernia. Please don't forget this-an injury like this can be fatal.

Hernias after liposuction?

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I am really puzzled by this. A hernia is a protrusion of tissue through a membrane or muscle.

In liposuction, this means a hole was created by the liposuction in the muscle wall. Are you sure this is what happened?

Is it possible the hernias were there before?

Even though some plastic surgeons have been fully trained in General Surgery (the specialty that takes care of hernias), most will not correct hernias and will instead refer the case to a General Surgeon.

I do cases in conjunction with General Surgeons, and they will repair the hernia, and I do the other parts of the surgery. If you have a hernia, go see a General Surgeon.

Ricardo L. Rodriguez, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 98 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.