Liposuction is the most popular cosmetic procedure in the United States. It came to North America in 1982. At first, the doctors used it on thighs, buttocks, and the torso. Now it can be used almost all over the body. The number of liposuctions performed increased by 386 percent from 1992 to 2000. More than 350,000 liposuctions were performed in 2000. Women aren’t the only ones worried about their looks. Last year more than 99,000 men signed up for liposuction and other cosmetic procedures. The most controversial category of new patients is teenagers. Last year, 1,645 teenagers 18 years old and younger had liposuction.
The best candidates fro liposuction are normal-weight people with firm, elastic skin. They should be physically and mentally healthy, with realistic expectations. It can help obese people, but it has a much higher risk of complications when more fat is suctioned out. There are two types of liposuction. The first type is the tumescent technique. First they use local anesthetics to numb the area, unless it’s a large area, then they might use a general anesthetic. They put a saline containing solution with anesthetic to reduce swelling and bruising after the surgery.
Through a tiny incision, a narrow tube is inserted and used to vacuum the fat layer that’s deep beneath the skin. The tube is quickly pushed and pulled through the fat layer, breaking up the fat cells and suctioning them out. Fluid is lost along with the fat, and it’s crucial that this fluid be replaced during the procedure to prevent shock. Because of this, patients need to be carefully watched and receive fluids. The other type of liposuction is ultrasound-assisted liposuction. The doctors use a heated probe that produces vibrations. The energy it produces causes the patient’s fat cells to rupture, spilling out their oily content.
Then the doctors suction out the oil. After the surgery, the patient will experience fluid drainage from the incisions. The patient will also be fitted with a compression garment to prevent swelling and blood clots. The doctor may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infections. Liposuction is a costly procedure. It can cost anywhere from 2,650 to 9,100 dollars. It’s not usually covered by insurance, so patients have to pay full cost. Liposuction is an estimated 700 million dollar a year business. Along with all the good things liposuction can bring, it can also bring the bad.
It carries greater risk for people with medical problems like diabetes, significant heart or lung disease, poor blood circulation, or people who recently had surgery. Risks increase dramatically if more then one site is operated on at the same time. There are several side effects. The patient could have temporary bruising, swelling, numbness, soreness, or a burning sensation. They could also experience some bleeding. Many patients feel anxious or depressed in the weeks following the surgery. The patient will usually feel better after they start to look better, which will be apparent after four to six weeks.
Background checking is very important when choosing a plastic surgeon. Patients are encouraged to consider a doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. This way the patient can be assured the doctor has graduated from an accredited medical school, completed five years of additional residency, three years of general surgery, and two years of plastic surgery. Not all surgeons are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Many of the estimated 50,000 other doctors practicing in the field learned their trade in short courses or apprenticeships.
Pretty much anyone with an M. D. can call themselves a plastic surgeon. Lately, liposuction procedures have been being performed in offices rather than hospitals, which if dangerous if they don’t have the right equipment. Most in-office surgical units don’t meet the requirements hospital operating rooms do. In California, seventy percent of oral surgeons are now doing cosmetic surgery. Scarring is another risk of liposuction. The patient may experience asymmetry, baggy skin, or pigmentation changes. Usually the scars from liposuction are small and strategically placed to be hidden from view.
However, imperfections in the final appearance are not uncommon. Sometimes, additional surgery may be recommended. Still, many specialists are troubled by those who come in seeking help after botched jobs. It’s estimated that the revision rate for all cosmetic surgery could be as high as one in ten. Deaths from cosmetic surgery are rare. A random survey of plastic surgeons reported a twenty percent increase in liposuction deaths from 1993 to 1999. In another study of 130 liposuction fatalities, the most common cause of death was a blood clot. Other causes are excessive fluid loss, nerve damage, and unfavorable drug reactions.
The following is an example of a liposuction fatality. A mother’s death. No one knows better the Edward Mondeck and his two children, ages nine and eleven. Two years ago, Mondeck’s wife, Rosemarie, 39, decided to have a bit of tummy fat removed with a new procedure called tumescent liposuction. Typically, patients are primed just prior to surgery by injecting large amounts of extremely diluted local anesthetic and epinephrine, a drug that shrinks the capillaries, which reduces bleeding and, many practitioners say, makes it easier to suck out the fat.
According to Mondeck and his lawyer, after the drugs were injected, Rosemarie went into cardiac arrest and died. Mondeck sued, and an undisclosed settlement was reached out of court. A lawyer for the physician involved declined to “get into the issues of the case” because of privacy concerns. “It was supposed to be a touch-up procedure,” says Mondeck. “All she had was a fatty area above her bellybutton. That was just one of many. Judy Fernandes was just 47 years old. She spent ten hours on the table and died. Lisa Marinelli was just 23 years old. She died of a blood clot the day after surgery.