Learning objectives: After studying this article, the participant should be able to: 1. Adequately evaluate a patient preoperatively for liposuction. 2. Formulate a surgical treatment plan to safely perform liposuction. 3. Postoperatively diagnose immediate, early, and late complications and formulate a treatment plan for the complications. 4. Classify the anesthesia status of a potential liposuction patient and select the appropriate type of anesthetics to be used. 5. Understand large-volume liposuction and the added risks inherent in this type of liposuction procedure.
Summary: The purpose of this liposuction article is to provide a broad overview of the procedure, currently one of the most common operations performed by plastic surgeons. The important medical history that must be obtained, including comorbidities and conditions that increase the risk of deep venous thrombosis, is discussed. Specifics of the physical examination are highlighted. Anesthesia for liposuction is an extremely important factor for the success and safety of the procedure. The anesthetic agents and the wetting solutions used in liposuction are explained to promote safety and good results. A surgical treatment plan for a successful outcome, including the types of lipoplasty, is presented. Outcomes of the procedures, including potential complications, are covered. The rare complication of intestinal or organ perforation from the cannula is discussed to increase the surgeon's level of awareness of the problem and its avoidance. Deep venous thrombosis, associated with pulmonary embolism and death, is the most frequent serious complication of liposuction. This and other sequelae of liposuction are discussed so that the surgeon can evaluate his or her surgical outcomes to improve the results and promote patient safety.