How is the airway supported during a BBL?

If a life threatening event were to happen, ie. PE, Fat embolism, how soon after would symptoms present? During or after surgery?

Doctor Answers 3

BBL and patient safety

With your question of airway control you bring a very important topic which must be discussed here, which is patient safety. The anesthesia provider is as important as the skilled surgeon.BBL involves multiple site liposuction abdomen, flanks and back. During some of these procedures the patient is on her stomach. Airway control is very important in that position. There should be an endotracheal tube if heavy sedation and general anesthesia is used. Some feel that with iv sedation the patient in the prone position must have an endotracheal tube . There should be an anesthesia provider ready to handle severe emergencies. Therefore general anesthesia is safer when the patient is prone.As for the risks of blood clots and pulmonary emboli and fat emboli, it is more important to calculate the individual risks and try all preventive measures before a pulmonary embolus or fat embolus occur.After major surgery like BBL the risk of pulmonary emboli, blood clots, extends up to 30 days after surgery in a healthy person. some studies have shown the risk extends to 90 days after surgery.


Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Airway during BBL

If you are young and healthy anesthesia is extremely safe.  During a BBL you will be under general anesthesia with an endotracheal tube (the tube that goes down your throat).  That is the safest way to control your breathing since you will be on your stomach while the fat is being placed into your buttocks.

Maida Parkins, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Airway during BBL

Renee this is a great question.A BBL is most commonly performed under general anesthesia with traditional endotracheal intubation(a breathing tube), not something like an LMA(laryngeal mask airway). The reason for this is because during the BBL you will go from a supine to prone position and this is the only "safe" airway to move a patient from one position into the next. As for life threatening events, a PE on the table would be an uncommon event unless you have multiple risk factors, a DVT/PE is typically something that comes up days later. A fat embolism could indeed happen on the table and the anesthesiologist/surgeon would know immediately what is going on, if the procedure was not being performed in a hospital setting you would be rapidly transferred to a hospital. I hope this answers your questions,  a properly performed BBL is a safe procedure. Good luck.

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.