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Liposuction Risks Northern Virginia

Risks of liposuction vary according to the technique. While liposuction is a relatively safe procedure, it is still surgery and it does carry risks that any prospective patient should be aware of.

Risks of liposuction include both general risks associated with any surgical procedure of similar scope, and risks that are specific to the liposuction procedure.

As with any surgical procedure, it is important that you understand the risks involved and discuss any concerns with a qualified, experienced cosmetic surgeon.


As with any surgical procedure, there is always some risk of infection. Because liposuction is a relatively noninvasive procedure, those risks are small. Some physicians prescribe antibiotics as a matter of course to their liposuction patients, and others do not. In those rare cases that infections occur, they can usually be treated with antibiotics. However, in some very rare types of infection, such as necrotizing fasciitis or toxic shock syndrome, the condition can be fatal. Most infections can be effectively prevented simply by keeping the wound clean and watching the area carefully during the healing process.


Serum is a clear yellow fluid contained in whole blood. Occasionally, the liposuction procedure can cause pooling of this serum under the skin, a condition known as seroma. If a seroma does occur, it can be treated by draining the area.


Embolism is a rare but serious complication that occurs when an object-in the case of liposuction, a piece of loosened fat-enters a blood vessel, causing obstruction or occlusion. Once the object enters the bloodstream, it enters the lungs or the brain. Signs of pulmonary embolism, or embolism in the lungs, include difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. If you develop these symptoms following a liposuction procedure, seek emergency medical care immediately.

Anesthesia toxicity

Any procedure involving anesthesia carries risks. In cases of local anesthesia and IV sedation, these risks are minimized. The most significant anesthesia risk in most liposuction procedures is lidocaine toxicity, which results in lightheadedness, drowsiness, numbness in the lips and tongue, slurred speech, ringing in the ears, shivering, muscle twitches, and convulsions. In very rare cases, it can cause the heart to stop, resulting in death.

You should ask your surgeon who will be providing your anesthesia. It takes years of specialize training to provide safe anesthesia for cosmetic surgery patients. Board certified anesthesiologists and CRNA's (under the supervision of a board certified anesthesiologist) are the medical specialists who are most qualified and licensed to provide your anesthesia care.

Organ perforations

Organ, or visceral, perforations can occur during the liposuction procedure if the surgeon accidentally punctures a vital organ with the cannula. Such perforations may require surgery to repair the damaged organ, and in some very rare cases, may prove fatal.

Nerve compression

In some cases, the liposuction procedure can result in nerve compression, causing a change in sensation at the site of the procedure. This may mean that the area is more or less sensitive than before. In most cases, this condition will pass during the recovery process, but in some rare cases, the change may be permanent.


In some cases, swelling, also known as edema, will occur at the surgery site following a liposuction procedure. In the majority of cases, this condition clears up quickly, but in rare cases, it can persist for weeks or even months following the procedure.

Skin necrosis

Skin necrosis is a very rare condition that causes localized cell death in the skin above the liposuction site.

Fluid imbalance

Fluid imbalance is an abnormality in the amount of fluids present in the body. In liposuction procedures, this can mean either dehydration caused by the loss of liquid due to fat removal, or over hydration caused by the amount of fluid injected during the procedure. In either case, a skilled surgeon will watch patients closely for early signs of fluid imbalances and take corrective actions as necessary.

If you live near Springfield and would like to discuss liposuction options personally, our surgeon, Dr. Desman is available for a consultation in Virginia.

Call 703-924-3144 to schedule your consultation or to set up a telephone consultation.

Our goal is to provide you with the highest quality cosmetic surgery care in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC region. Dr. Desman is committed to serving you through advanced training, dedication to perfection and unmatched personal care.

We are confident you will not be disappointed!

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