The frightening dangers of liposuction and what you need to know if you're going to get it-Susan Crandell, BettyConfidential.com
If you're considering going under the cannula, consider this: you are more likely to die during liposuction surgery than in a car crash. In a survey conducted by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the death rate from liposuction was 20 out of 100,000. Compare that to 16 deaths per 100,000 car accidents.
A follow-up study highlights how you can cut that risk down to size by planning your cosmetic surgery with care. The newer study found a mortality rate (1 in 46,000) akin to that of hernia repair, as long as the procedure was performed by a board-certified plastic surgeon. (A board-certified dermatologist can also be a good choice if he or she is well trained in liposuction.)
Any doctor can hang out a shingle advertising liposuction, and many of them do. No special licensing or certification is required. Liposuction plays tag with breast augmentation as the most popular cosmetic surgery in the U.S. In 2007, it surpassed boob jobs; last year it lost out for top billing, 355,671 to 341,144.
The most critical decision is choosing a well-qualified doctor. Several Web sites make this easy to check out. You can find out whether your doc is certified in dermatology or plastic surgery at the American Board of Medical Specialties. Then read the "guidelines of care for liposuction" at the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery.
OK, it's pretty technical but there's stuff there you ought to know, even if you'd rather not, like "it is important to determine the extent that the weight of the buttocks contributes to the outer thigh deformity." This is one case where you want to be almost as smart as your doc so you can ask the right questions. Next, surf on over to your physician's own Web site, and look at before and after photos of patients who've had work similar to what you're contemplating.
If it sounds like a good idea to bundle cosmetic surgery procedures together, reconsider that plan. In one survey, the death rate for liposuction was 14 times greater when surgery also included a tummy tuck. (Remember Kanye West's mom, who died after a breast reduction/tummy tuck combo.) It may be safer to go solo and have just one procedure at a time.
When you meet with your doctor, talk to her about her qualifications and various risks and side effects. Is your skin supple and elastic enough to conform to your new curves, or is it likely to lie loose against your sleeker frame? What about seroma, fluid-filled pockets that can develop under your skin after the procedure? Should you expect temporary numbness? What tests or assessments does she recommend to make sure your heart and overall health are up to the procedure? How many procedures has she done? What's her record for success? How often have her patients developed post-surgical infections? Had organs punctured by the cannula? Died? Ask whether the type of liposuction can be completed using local anesthesia, which sidesteps the risks of general anesthesia.
On your end, of course, you need to level with your doctor about any drugs you take, as well as any supplements or herbs. Make sure she has a full medical history.
Finally, talk through how an emergency will be handled. Many liposuctions take place at a doctor's office or an outpatient clinic. Some states regulate such non-hospital procedures but the majority still don't, so it's up to you to be sure that you're safe. If you're having general anesthesia, know the credentials of the health professional who's providing it, ask how you will be monitored and what hospital you will be taken to if a problem occurs.
Sounds like a lot of work, but you definitely want to be around to enjoy the new you.