Recently published research has highlighted the risks of fat embolisms during and following a liposuction procedure that was performed on the lower legs. The patient suffered from a rare complication known as a fat embolism, or a mass of substance that breaks from the veins and can block a blood vessel, creating devastating risks. While fat embolisms are rare during liposuction, it is an important reminder of the possible risks during this operation. Fat embolisms are typically caused when there is soft tissue damage and can be an extremely rare, yet dangerous risk.

Cause of Fat Embolisms

Liposuction can rarely cause fat embolisms due to large fat tissue removals that are not recommended by most surgeons. A larger cannula is required for procedures whenever more than 5 liters of fat are removed. Fat embolisms can also be caused whenever large fat globules are injected into the body.

Prevention and Treatment

Liposuction patients will normally face risks inherent with surgical procedures; lipedema patients face these same risks. However, patients with lipedema are at a higher risk for complications for several reasons, including:

  • the presence of varicose veins that can increase the risk of bleeding
  • having more subcutaneous fat than non-lipedema patients
  • patients with lipedema are generally heavier than others
  • the need for a larger diameter cannula in liposuction procedures for lipedema patients
  • using general anesthesia can increase the risks of complications due to temporary cardiac depression

A number of precautions are taken to help minimize these risks. One of the biggest precautions taken is using lymph-sparing techniques that can minimize the risk of injury. Also, using a smaller-sized cannula during the procedure is also recommended due to the trauma that larger diameter cannulas can inflict. Knowledgeable surgeons will be able to know the location of lymphatic collecting ducts, making it easier on the patient throughout the procedure.

Having a Trusted Surgeon

Fat embolisms are a rare, yet serious risk that can occur during any liposuction procedure. However, the risk of a fat embolism occurring can be minimized when you are in the hands of an experienced surgeon. The surgeons at CWC Cosmetic Surgery take the proper precautions needed to ensure your safety. Our staff has years of experience and only use the proper instruments to help reduce any unwanted risks. Support measures can be taken if a fat embolism ever does occur, such as restricting fluid intake and using diuretics. Contact our office today to find out how we minimize the risks of fat embolisms, making sure you have a successful liposuction procedure.