It may seem like a quick way to lose a lot of weight, but for folks who are obese, the health risks of liposuction far outweigh the benefits. Obese folks have a body mass index or BMI that is at least thirty percent higher than the ideal for their height and frame. Apart from the risks of liposuction surgery, the procedure rarely works for the obese over the long term.
Often a person who is obese has gotten that way because of poor diet and exercise habits, and is looking for a shortcut to weight loss. However, unless major, permanent changes are made in the patient’s diet and activity level, he will likely gain all of the weight back over a period following the surgery.
What are the Risks of Liposuction
In addition, it is not considered safe for a surgeon to remove more than eight to ten pounds of fat from a person in a single day. The risk of serious surgical complications goes up with an increase of the amount of fat that is suctioned out at one time.
When liposuction is performed on obese patients, the fat that is left undergoes a large amount of trauma, which the body has to then heal. Too much of this trauma can be bad for the patient.
Additional risks of liposuction surgery in obese patients includes the potential for a large amount of blood loss, especially if the tumescent (wet liposuction) method is not used.
The risk of a complication with the anesthesia is also greater in obese patients, and these cases require a very skilled anesthesiologist to be able to handle anything that may go wrong.
Health Risks of Liposuction
Finally, too much liposuction at once can cause an imbalance of the body’s fluids, which can have disastrous results. The patient can develop a condition called disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), which is characterized by blood clots forming all over the body because of a fluid imbalance or trauma. This condition has often proved fatal.
Aside from the many health risks of liposuction surgery, removing a large amount of fat at once from the body may also not live up to the obese patient’s expectations with regard to the body’s appearance afterward.
Some areas of skin such as around the upper and inner thigh regions, around the hips, and on the stomach, may appear rippled following the surgery. Before the surgery, this skin was stretched tight over a large amount of fat, and suddenly does not have that volume holding it out anymore. There is simply not enough time for the skin to gracefully shrink back to its normal size.
Because of this tendency for the skin to produce unsightly wrinkles in some areas, some patients opt for a combination liposuction and tummy tuck surgery, which is also troubling. For every surgical procedure that is performed on a patient at once, the risk of complications increases.
Liposuction is best used for the contouring of the body. Some areas of fat in a person’s body can be resistant to diet and exercise, including the stomach, under the chin, and on the hips. Other times, fatty areas are genetic, and are inherited from the person’s parents. These localized areas will usually turn up after the age of thirty. Often, these pockets simply will not respond no matter how much a person diets or exercises, and so surgical help is needed to remove this fat.
For obese patients, it is best to try to lose the excess weight first by following a program of diet and exercise. Then, a plastic surgeon can go in and clean up any excess areas of fat that were left over from the weight loss process. This is a sure-fire way to get the most out of the procedure while avoiding the inherent risks of liposuction surgery.