Adverse reports on the effects of liposuction prompted a census survey of plastic surgeons certified by ASAPS (American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons) and practicing in America. This census was carried out by Dr.Frederick Grazer of Pennsylvania State University and Dr. Rudolph De Jong of the Thomas Jefferson medical College and the report was published in an issue of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. In this survey a total of 1200 practicing and certified plastic surgeons were asked to provide their findings on deaths occurring due to liposuction. 917 surgeons responded to this survey which was done for the cases taking place between 1994 to 1998.The surgeons reported a total of 95 deaths in 496,245 lipoplasties (2000, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery) in the survey. The mortality rate thus arrived at was approximately 19 per 100,000 cases. The findings from this survey were similar to another random survey conducted in 1997 which calculated the mortality at 20.3 per 100,000 cases. When considered together the findings from both these surveys indicate the mortality rate of the late 1990’s to 20 per 100,000 or 1 per 5000 case.
This is not a very healthy number since the generally acceptable mortality rate in any kind of elective surgery is usually 1 per 100,000 cases. Hence the number of deaths due to liposuction is high as per medical standards. Rod J.Rohrich, MD ,professor and Chairman of the department of plastic surgery at the University of Texas southwestern Medical Center in Dallas ,says” This data is nowhere near being valid” and goes on to say that the number of deaths is much lesser since this was a survey where numbers could have been duplicated.
However another point to be taken into consideration here is that the survey was conducted among only the board certified doctors whereas, liposuction is today being performed by any doctor. If all these doctors were queried and verified then the number of deaths would definitely be higher.
It should always be remembered that liposuction is a surgery and as such comes with the risks of any regular surgical procedure, which can even be life threatening at times. In view of the deaths that have occurred due to liposuction there are certain factors that have led to these deaths.
According to an article in the American Family Physician (dated October15, 1999) .One of the most prominent factors has been an excessive dosage of Lidocaine. Lidocaine is a drug that is used as a local anesthetic during liposuction. An inexperienced or bad anesthetic can prove fatal to the patient by injecting more than the necessary volume of anesthetic.Lidocaine is known to cause bradycardia, vasodilatation and hypotension. It causes the heart to slow and misfire and the blood pressure to fall significantly, thus sometimes leading to death. The recommended dosage of Lidocaine is to be 4.5 mg per kg, however the dosage administered during tumescent liposuction is from 10 to 88 mg per kg, thus causing hypotension and bradycardia. Lidocaine toxicity is a major reason for fatalities.
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