Proceed with Liposuction After Anxiety Attacks?

I had Vaser+PAL (Power Assisted) Liposuction 15 days ago to my upper and lower abdomen (2700cc). I'm supposed to have my lower back, flanks done on Dec 3. I want to know from the docs if I'm a bad candidate to finish my surgery/future surgeries, because I've been in the ER 4x in the last week and half from the anxiety my surgery caused.

I had an EKG/CT scan/throat exam/blood/urine test and everything was fine except I had to take Potassium pills and needed 2 bags of fluid (wasn't eating much). The attacks have been very bad so does that mean no more surgery? Or is it too early to tell?

Doctor Answers 11

Liposuction and anxiety attacks

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Your surgery is meant to improve the quality of life and make you feel better about yourself. It is purely elective and so you may want to consider that before taking any further decisons about surgery. Be your best both mentally and physically.

Do elective cosmetic surgery when you are in your best physical and emotional shape

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The surgery you are considering is an elective procedure that you are choosing to do to improve your appearance. When people are feeling excellent and positive about an elective procedure, they may, regardless of their good attitude, have anxiety over their convalescence. In you unstable condition, it would not be wise to risk exacerbating it to a worse level by undergoing more surgery now. Several months from now, when you are feeling better, consult with your surgeon again, and then decide if you should have it done.

There is adrenaline (epinephrine) in the local anesthetic used for liposuction. This can make the heart race or even pound, in some patients, especially those who are prone to noticing these palpitations in their chest during stressful times or as a result of fatigue or caffeiine. This side effect could add to your symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks so you should postpone the surgery until you have been doing much better, and for a few months of remaining stable. Good luck.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Anxiety and surgery

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Anxiety after surgery is not uncommon, but your symptoms may be more extreme than others. You may want to talk to someone about your concerns besides your surgeon.

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

Anxiety After Surgery

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Anxiety after surgery is not uncommon. Anxiety to the extent that you had it, is. My advice is let this surgery completely heal, 6 months. There absolutely no reason to get such large procedures so close together. Get your anxiety under control and if you want return for additional surgery in the spring.

Be sure it's just anxiety attacks

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Dear Flawed,

There are medical conditions that can cause anxiety, such as heart attacks and blood clots to the lungs. If you have been cleared of medical problems, then you should see a psychiatrist for management of the anxiety before you have further surgery. Good luck!

Anxiety following elective surgery

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I would turn that question back to you. If you are reassured by the normal tests and are comfortable with proceeding than by all means, go ahead and complete your planned series of procedures.

However, your description leads me to believe that you suffered much mental anguish and emotional upset. You may want to consider postponing your surgery to avoid a post traumatic like stress disorder.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Liposuction and anxiety attacks

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I would definitely wait until you are more healed from your first procedure and get your panic attacks worked up before proceeding. Some people just don't tolerate surgical procedures well, but these could be unrelated events. Check in with your medical doctor and get appropriate referal to a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Good Luck,

Dr T

Scott Tucker, MD
Winston Salem Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Please listen to your feelings

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Dear Flawed

Please listen to your feelings. You are having the anxiety attacks for a reason. Was recovery more traumatic than you anticipated? Is the experience triggering memories of an earlier trauma? Whatever the reason, if you were my patient, I would not advise you to go forward as scheduled for more surgery.

This is a time to regroup and learn from what just happened and not simply repeat the process. Perhaps you need intervention by your psychotherapist. Perhaps you need an adjustment in your medications. Perhaps you next procedure should be cancelled all together. This decision should be made in conjunction with your cosmetic surgery, your psychotherapist, and yourself. If your surgeon is not concerned about this, then you are going to the wrong surgeon. Time to back up and figure out what just happened.

Kenneth D. Steinsapir, MD
Beverly Hills Oculoplastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Sorry to hear about it.

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I don't know if this is a red flag, or a yellow flag.

I certainly would be concerned as to why this is happening, and would want to avoid it in the future. I would feel more comfortable with waiting until this is addressed. Perhaps you need to see a counsleor to see if you have an underlying panic disorder, assuming that your labs/workup was negative.

What would help likely, would be antianxiety medications perioperatively.

Don't let your goals stand in your way of an appropriate work up.


Anxiety Attacks after surgery

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If this was your first experience with anxiety attacks I would make certain that anxiety was truly the cause. Lack of fluid, pain medication, pulmonary embolus and other causes could lead to the "anxiety attacks". If so then you need to be evaluated by a psychiatrist prior to anticipating doing any surgery. If you have had anxiety attacks in the past you will need to get better control of these prior to surgery.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 37 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.