Risks

As with any major surgery, liposuction carries risks, such as bleeding and a reaction to anesthesia. Possible complications specific to liposuction include:

  • Contour irregularities. Your skin might appear bumpy, wavy or withered due to uneven fat removal, poor skin elasticity and unusual healing. These changes might be permanent. Damage beneath the skin from the thin tube (cannula) that's used during liposuction might give the skin a permanent spotted appearance.
  • Fluid accumulation. Temporary pockets of fluid (seromas) can form under the skin. This fluid might need to be drained with a needle.
  • Numbness. You might feel temporary or permanent numbness in the affected area. Temporary nerve irritation also is possible.
  • Infection. Skin infections are rare but possible. A severe skin infection might be life-threatening.
  • Internal puncture. Rarely, a cannula that penetrates too deeply might puncture an internal organ. This might require emergency surgical repair.
  • Fat embolism. Pieces of loosened fat might break away and become trapped in a blood vessel and gather in the lungs or travel to the brain. A fat embolism is a medical emergency.
  • Kidney and heart problems. Shifts in fluid levels as fluids are being injected and suctioned out can cause potentially life-threatening kidney and heart problems.

The risk of complications increases if the surgeon is working on larger surfaces of your body or doing multiple procedures during the same operation. Talk to your surgeon about how these risks apply to you.