Signs of Bad Liposuction: How Do you Know If Lipo Is Botched?

Local accumulation of adipose tissue in specific body parts, such as the abdomen, chest, and hips, can affect the body's overall shape and lower each person's self-esteem. Also, excess body fat in the body can impair body function and cause death and disability. During the last decades, various surgical techniques have been devised to permanently remove local fat deposits from the body, the most popular of which is liposuction.

However, just like any other cosmetic surgery, liposuction may go wrong too. In this article, we mention the main reasons for liposuction failure and discuss how to prevent it from happening.  

Liposuction, or lipo surgery

What Is Liposuction?

Liposuction, or lipo surgery, is a body cosmetic surgery by which stubborn fat tissues are removed from different body parts, such as the lower and upper stomach, hips, thighs, waist, back, neck, chin, ankle, and arm. In the past, a more invasive type of liposuction used to be done on patients, but today, minimally invasive methods such as tumescent, laser-assisted, ultrasound-assisted, and VASER lipo are performed, which have fewer side effects and shorter recovery periods. 

Liposuction Surgery
Read more: Liposuction Surgery Types: What is the Safest Lipo Method?

Possible Side Effects of Liposuction

Liposuction surgery has some common and several rare complications which are worth mentioning. The common side effects of lipo surgery include swelling, bruising, pain, nausea, vomiting, scarring, fluid discharge, and anesthesia-related dizziness. Fortunately, these discomforts go away independently after a couple of weeks, either by taking medications or without them. However, rare liposuction complications may end in serious health issues and need extra time and energy to be treated. Read on to know the rare risks of this operation:

  • Skin burn;
  • Development of keloids or hypertrophic scars;
  • Fat embolism;
  • Severe fluid or blood loss during and after the surgery;
  • Damage to nerves, blood vessels, and nearby tissues;
  • Kidney, lungs, or heart failure;
  • Allergic reaction to anesthetics;
  • Internal puncture;
  • Skin rippling;
  • Damage to brain cells due to the travel of fat cells to the brain;
  • Severe infection.

The common side effects of lipo surgery

Six Sings of Liposuction Failure

Sometimes, bad liposuction causes permanent or temporary damage to certain body parts. If you have had liposuction and think it has gone wrong, read the following to know more about the signs of bad liposuction.

Persistent lumps and bumps

If your surgeon lacks adequate expertise and extracts fat pockets unevenly, there will be lumps and bumps under your skin for a long period. Also, poor skin elasticity, accumulation of body fluid under the skin, and unusual healing may cause wavy skin after lipo surgery.

Lumps & Bumps After Liposuction: How to Smooth Out Stomach?
Read more: Lumps & Bumps After Liposuction: How to Smooth Out Stomach?

Change in the sensation of the operated area

Prolonged numbness can be a sign of nerve damage. In some rare cases where the fat pockets are removed aggressively, the nerves may be lost, and the operated area gets numb forever. 

Severe seroma 

The formation of big pockets of uninfected and clear fluid under the skin may cause pain and discomfort during recovery. Luckily, most seromas can be drained by a needle or a thin tube inserted into the wounds. If you have sharp pain when touching your bumps, contact your doctor. 

Sings of Liposuction Failure

Skin irregularities

Skin infection and necrosis are rare but life-threatening complications of liposuction surgery. Severe infections require immediate medical treatment because they may enter the bloodstream and reach the brain or kidneys. Mild skin necrosis (death of skin tissue) is not dangerous and can be treated by topical or oral medications, but severe necrosis should be removed surgically.

Contour irregularities 

Sometimes, when you receive lipo surgery for your arms, hips, and thighs, there would be some irregularities regarding the size and shape of your body parts. This may happen when the surgeon removes an unequal amount of fat tissue from two sides of your body. Fortunately, such a kind of unevenness can be reduced through revision surgery. 

Recurrent pain

Having pain during the first two months after lipo surgery is common and natural, but if you have recurring pain after eight weeks, you have to see a doctor. Constant pain can indicate infection or damage to an internal tissue or organ. 

The Main Reasons for Liposuction Failure

Certain diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes type 1 and 2, allergy to medications (specifically anesthetics used in lipo surgery), and immune system deficiencies disqualify a person from getting liposuction surgery. They might change the outcomes of the surgery for the worse. So, these medical issues are the first and main reasons for liposuction failure.

The second cause of bad liposuction is the lack of plastic surgeons' expertise. New liposuction techniques require accurate surgical tools and the experience of an adept surgeon who knows how to use them most efficiently. Since modern liposuction methods are done through a few tiny incisions, the surgeon must be familiar with the structure of body parts and adipose tissues to obtain the best results with the minimum possible complications. 

Third, having a BMI of more than 30 can cause liposuction failure. The risk of fat embolism after liposuction surgery is higher in obese people; in this regard, most plastic surgeons recommend losing a few pounds before having this procedure. 

Not following your doctor's post-op instructions can also result in bad liposuction. Taking antibiotics and prescribed painkillers, wearing compression garments/sleeves, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle, avoiding smoking and drinking, getting enough rest, and avoiding vigorous physical activities can reduce the risk of liposuction failure. So, neglecting post-op care can end in bad liposuction results. 

Finally, having poor skin elasticity, being under 18 or over 65, and weight gain due to pregnancy or a poor lifestyle can adversely affect the results of your liposuction surgery. The skin loses its firmness and elasticity over time, so if you get liposuction when you have poor skin quality, it is highly probable to experience saggy skin and severe scarring. Moreover, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and hormonal fluctuations can cause sudden weight gain and change your body contour.

Liposuction gone wrong

How to Prevent a Bad Liposuction?

The majority of the liposuction success rate depends on the experience and expertise of the plastic surgeon, the patient's current health, and their post-op care. To avoid liposuction failure, the first thing to do is choose a qualified and knowledgeable surgeon with tons of experience performing different lipo-surgery techniques. Then, you must consider the following points to achieve the best results possible:

  • Get a full checkup before undergoing liposuction. Having serious medical issues such as diabetes, anemia, lung or heart problem, and high blood pressure may jeopardize your health during and after the operation;
  • Avoid taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin, apixaban, and rivaroxaban, as well as herbal medicines before lipo surgery as they interfere with anesthetics used during the procedure and your wound-healing process;
  • Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol for at least two weeks before the operation;
  • Regularly exercise and eat healthy to lose weight before the surgery. Being obese increases the risk of fat embolism and heart failure. Keep in mind that liposuction is not a weight-loss surgery and only removes small local fat pockets;
  • Taking OTC dietary supplements and medications containing vitamins E, K, and B is prohibited before the surgery as they can cause excessive bleeding during the operation. However, you can take vitamin E supplements after the procedure (with your doctor's approval) to speed up the healing process and prevent scarring; and
  • Do not apply moisturizers and topical creams containing paraben and alcohol on areas that will be operated. These chemicals increase the risk of infection and scarring.

Diet after liposuction
Read more: Liposuction Aftercare: Useful Tips for Lipo Recovery Period

What Should You Do If Your Liposuction Goes Wrong?

For a couple of months after liposuction surgery, the operated part is severely swollen, so you shouldn’t judge the results of your operation based on what you see in this period. If you are unhappy with the contour of your body when the swelling has gone down, you can get revision liposuction -also known as liposuction correction and lipo shifting. Also, if you have unbearable pain, bruising, and signs of infection after recovery, you probably need immediate medical treatment. 

Liposuction in Iran

Iran has gained a great international reputation in liposuction surgery in the last two decades due to its high-quality healthcare services, top-notched plastic surgeons, and affordable prices. The most important factor that has made this country a popular destination for lipo surgery is the high success rate of this cosmetic procedure in there.

Iran is the best country for those who are too worried about the outcome of their operation because Iranian plastic surgeons are unerring and accurate. 

Liposuction in Iran

Liposuction in Iran

FAQs About Bad Liposuction

1) What does bad liposuction look like?

The main signs of bad liposuction are persistent pain in the operated area, skin irregularities such as discoloration and necrosis, severe scarring, and prolonged numbness of the surgical site. 

2) What are the chances of liposuction failure?

Less than 5% of liposuction surgeries go wrong. If you choose a qualified surgeon, you will face minor risks and complications. 

3) Why does the stomach look bad after liposuction surgery?

Immediately after liposuction surgery, your abdomen is swollen and uneven, but as time passes, the swelling subsides, and your muscles will be revealed. 

4) Can bad liposuction be fixed?

Like many other cosmetic surgeries, liposuction can be fixed if you are unhappy with its results. However, correcting the deficiencies of primary lipo surgery requires another operation called correction liposuction.

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