Can you die from liposuction procedures?

Doctor Answers 8

Can you die from any surgical procedure?

YES.    You can die from liposuction.   I do  medical review work and have reviewed death cases.    I will not, of course, speak of any of my cases but I can list why people die from liposuction.  CAUSES:   1.  Poor fluid management.  2.  Puncture of the intestine or stomach.  3.   Infection   4.   Blood loss    5.   Pulmonary embolism from blood clots  6.   Heart attack  7.  Puncture of chest cavity  8.  Puncture of large artery  9.  Puncture of abdominal wall and liver.  10. Non candidacy because of general illness such as diabetes  to mention a few.    This is why it pays to seek out a capable doctor who knows how to avoid trouble and keeps you safe.   Surgery is not an area to seek out cut rate deals and bargains.   My Best,  Dr C

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Liposuction is Surgery

Liposuction is real surgery and should be approached seriously. That said, if done correctly it can deliver excellent results in less than hour with relatively little pain during recovery. We use a combination of anti inflammatories and narcotic pain medications and most patients are off of them in a handful of days.

Liposuction is a very powerful technique in the right hands, and can have dramatic results in a variety of breasts types.

Most important is a consultation with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon regarding this procedure. Don’t settle for less!

Alex Campbell, MD
Colombia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Can you die from liposuction procedures?

The fact of the matter is you can die from any procedure.  Remember, although Cosmetic Surgery is elective, it does carry with it risks. Death is one of them.  Although a very low risk in good hands, it is a risk. Seek out a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to do you procedure and make sure your procedure is done in an accredited center.  Drink lots of fluids after the procedure and ambulate often.  Good Luck!

Christian A. Prada, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 259 reviews

Can someone die from liposuction?

Yes. All procedures,no matter how safe, can have lethal outcomes.  Of course so can a trip to the grocery store.  All life's choices involve risk. The goal is to properly assess your risk balanced against your benefit .

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Can you die from liposuction procedures?

Hi. I hear lots of concerns and trepidation. Great question. The answer is yes, it's possible that a patient may die from liposuction. However, they could also die from other cosmetic surgical procedures. Liposuction is the most common cosmetic procedure performed in the US. The number of deaths are minimal compared to the thousands of happy and satisfied patients. Before undertaking any invasive procedure, do your research. 

Understand that liposuction is not technically challenging for a surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. We're you aware that in the State of Florida, once a doctor receives a medical license, he/she is free to practice outside the scope of their specialty? For instance, a doctor may represent him/herself as a plastic surgeon but they may be a dermatologist or gynecologist. Is this amazing? I strongly feel that this is where things can go South with liposuction. Because lipo is fairly easy to perform it seems in our State there are a bunch of doctors performing it with minimal training in technique and safety.

The key is............ does the surgeon have a keen sense of aesthetics? Can he/she create a shapely, attractive figure or are they just technicians that wind up with unshapely figures? Understand that liposuction whether SAL, PAL or UAL ( not including LAL because the fat obtained through this technique will not be useful) is not that technically challenging. However, the keen aesthetic eye will determine the eventual work of art.We are creators and have the ability to turn out beautiful works of art. Simply put................not all artists create quality work. You need to see many, many photos from different surgeons to get an idea of their work. It's analogous to a baseball player. Would you rather have someone who hits a home run once in awhile or one that has a consistent batting average?

In our office we use TouchMD which is a web based program in which patients have the ability to load their picture unto the program. We can accommodate patients from as far away as California. I then evaluate them and can actually draw on the picture to show a potential patient where the incisions would be located and how the procedure is to be realized. It's all done to comply with HIPPA which is the federal law that protects the patient's medical information. Look them up. I personally perform the virtual consultations.

Give yourself the highest percentage of a sucssesful operation. I wish you the best on your journey, Good luck, Dr. PG.

Jose Perez-Gurri, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 233 reviews


Death after liposuction performed by a board certified plastic surgeon would be extremely uncommon.  Complications can happen, but it is very rare.  There would need to be something that went terribly wrong with what is usually a safe, simple procedure that is just done to the fat layer under the skin.  With training and experience that comes with becoming a plastic surgeon, the problems that could result in a serious complication are very unlikely.

Shim Ching, MD
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Can you die from liposuction?

Liposuction can be a very safe procedure if performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.  Unfortunately, there are too many deaths from bad liposuction every year.  

A few years back, Kayne West's mother died from complications of liposuction.  The physician who performed her surgery was a doctor on TV, so he must be qualified, right?  NO.  He was not board certified in plastic surgery and he was not performing surgery in and accredited surgical facility or hospital.

I have a lot of patients that come from your area.  I would be happy to see you in consultation.

Do your research.  Have consultations with board certified plastic surgeons.  Only have the procedure if you are a great candidate.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons is a great tool to search for a board certified plastic surgeons in your area. 

Joseph W. Aguiar, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Dying from liposuction.

 Dying from liposuction has been reported. It is an extremely remote risk but can be reduced even further by having the procedure done by a board certified plastic surgeon experienced not only in liposuction but in the physiologic consequences of surgery on the body.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 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.