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How safe is liposuction?

How safe is liposuction?
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As with most cosmetic treatments, liposuction treatments had a very humble beginning as a fat removal technique, and has now progressed to being a very safe, effective procedure, and in the right hands, liposuction offers excellent results.

Liposuction treatments have a tumultuous past. Techniques have been developed from the ground up, and they were not always very successful. The liposuction technique used at our Armadale, Melbourne clinic is known as the tumescent technique. This technique is considered the safest way to perform liposuction treatments, so if you are considering body contouring treatments like liposuction, you should ensure your practitioner is skilled, experienced, and is using the tumescent technique.

Are there any complications associated with liposuction treatments?

Every surgery and cosmetic procedure comes with some risk, which will be explained to you by your doctor. Each time we apply substances or penetrate skin there is a risk – albeit often small – that our individual biology will react adversely. When all the proper steps are adhered to with tumescent liposuction treatments, as they are at our Armadale clinic, tumescent liposuction treatments are remarkably safe and side effects are rare.

Recovery from liposuction treatments tends to be very quick with the tumescent technique, so normal daily activities can be resumed more or less immediately, and any discomfort can be easily managed with paracetamol. Swelling occurs as a natural part of the process, with compression garments worn to help this swelling resolve.

What we use

Technique matters a lot here, so your practitioner needs to be skilled in the use of microcannulas – Dr Michael Rich in Armadale is an expert tumescent liposuction practitioner with over 30 years’ experience, and uses only the smallest cannulas for liposuction treatments. Proper aftercare is important for successful liposuction treatments, including proper use of compression garments.

The tumescent liposuction treatment technique has an excellent, well-documented safety record. Patients heal well, with few issues. The scientific reviews carried out on this liposuction technique are many and varied, and there has not been a single death from tumescent liposuction – ever. (This is in stark contrast to regular liposuction techniques.)

What the research tells us

  • In a review of almost 10,000 liposuction treatments performed, the risk of systemic (bodywide) complications was found to be as low as 0.07 per cent. Just five patients had ‘excessive’ postoperative blood loss and two patients had infection. This goes to show just how rare these types of complications are.
  • Out of these 10,000 cases, the risk of complications at the site of the liposuction treatment was also found to be low, with a small number of patients for whom swelling took a longer-than-expected time to dissipate, though this is fairly usual and does not affect the results.
  • A survey on over 15,000 tumescent liposuction patients didn’t find any serious complications at all.
  • Dermatologic doctors (such as Dr Rich) were responsible for less than one per cent of claims against doctors after tumescent liposuction treatments, despite dermatologic doctors performing over a third of all liposuction in the study.
  • In a study of over 66,000 liposuction cases using the tumescent technique, no deaths were reported and the rate of adverse events was just over half a percentage point per thousand people.

The tumescent liposuction technique is now considered the gold standard in liposuction treatments globally. Tumescent liposuction is considered a safe and effective procedure when performed by a trained, experienced practitioner, with safety the highest priority. A final safe and satisfactory result is far more important than quick results.

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