Liposuction Is Big Business: Risks You Should Know

fit woman flat stomachA recent study highlights the big business of liposuction. According to the report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), researchers found that Americans are spending billions on getting nipped and tucked – to the tune of $16 billion in 2016 alone.

The most popular cosmetic procedures and their national average costs were:

  • Breast augmentation: more than 290,000 procedures at a cost of about $3,700 each;
  • Liposuction: about 235,000 procedures at $3,200;
  • Nose reshaping: 223,000 procedures at $5,000;
  • Tummy tuck: almost 128,000 procedures at around $5,800;
  • Buttock augmentation: nearly 19,000 procedures at about $4,400.

While the procedures are generally considered safe, a new article in BMJ Case Reports underlines a rare complication that nearly cost one woman her life, Health reports. In the paper, doctors recall an instance where they diagnosed and treated a patient who developed a rare and serious condition called fat embolization syndrome following a routine nip and tuck. About 36 hours after having 10 liters of fat removed from her lower body the patient became drowsy, confused, and her heart rate spiked.

When severe, fat embolization — a disruption to blood supply caused by fat globules in a blood vessel — is associated with respiratory failure, neurocognitive deficit, and death. While common with long-bone fractures or after major trauma, it’s also been documented a few times after liposuction.

Unfortunately, like other rare conditions, doctors argue that it is “notoriously difficult to diagnose.” In fact, many plastic surgeons don’t know to be on the lookout for symptoms, the report says.