An Independent Research Study
Completed April 7th, 2020

Liposuction In The United States


Source: Consumer Updates



1. Introduction To Liposuction

2. Liposuction Techniques

3. Liposuction Procedure Settings

4. Average Cost of Liposuction

5. Risks and Complications

6. Most Common Causes of Death in Liposuction

7. Liposuction Death Profiles

8. Permanent Disability and Disfigurement

9. Dying to Look Good

10. Alternatives to Liposuction

11. References


Liposuction Introduction

Through the years, liposuction surgery has become more and more affordable to US citizens. Those who could not afford travel to neighboring countries to avail of cheaper service. Others settle for local surgeons who lack track record and/or credibility. The great demand for liposuction procedure and other forms of cosmetic surgery equally lures a huge number of medical practitioners to enter into cosmetic surgery fields. The popularity of reality shows in the United States such as Extreme Makeover, Dr. 90210 and I Want a Famous Face is a testament to the proliferation of physical fascination in the country.

In 2006, nearly 5000 teens had liposuction according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Roberts, W. C. (2008) reports that about 17% of kids in the US are now obese.

Excessive commercialization of fast foods and other unhealthy forms of lifestyle cause a drastic increase in the level of obesity amongst US citizens through decades. In addition to unhealthy lifestyle is the unpopularity of proper exercise and balanced diet amongst professionals particularly women and men within 30-55 years of age.  It is deemed unnecessary to spend too much time at the gym or prepare healthy meals on top of a busy 24 hour day routine.

Although obesity is ruled out as a reason for liposuction surgery, exclusions of patients under these conditions does not guarantee total compliance amongst surgeons and patients. Vistnes, M. D. (2006) reports that, “more than 50% of the adult population in the United States is either overweight or obese.” He further added that although liposuction is not a treatment for obesity, it has become the most frequently performed cosmetic procedure in the United States.

The growing increase in the number of US citizens who opt to go through liposuction could be attributed to the media influence as well as friends and family members who have gone through the same. Advertisements influence many women and men to consider liposuction as a means to improve one’s physique. Although there are many patients who had been pleased with the results, there is also a significant number who had been extremely dissatisfied, filed lawsuits and some even resulted to death.
liposuction quote


That liposuction works like magic is the major selling point of liposuction. The notion is that fat accumulated over years of unhealthy lifestyle can be taken out in just one simple cosmetic procedure. It has been said too many a times that liposuction is not a cure for obesity. Prior to liposuction, the patient should have already undergone exercise and balanced diet regimen before they get considered. If the patient does not initiate a constructive lifestyle prior and after the liposuction procedure, the fat will always come back sooner than the patient thinks. As a result, hard-earned money goes down the drain and frustrations and anxiety worsens.

That liposuction works like magic is the major selling point of liposuction. The notion is that fat accumulated over years of unhealthy lifestyle can be taken out in just one simple cosmetic procedure. It has been said too many a times that liposuction is not a cure for obesity. Prior to liposuction, the patient should have already undergone exercise and balanced diet regimen before they get considered. If the patient does not initiate a constructive lifestyle prior and after the liposuction procedure, the fat will always come back sooner than the patient thinks. As a result, hard-earned money goes down the drain and frustrations and anxiety worsens.


Liposuction Statistics in the United States

Based on a 2008 research study conducted by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), liposuction is the 2nd most popular form of cosmetic surgery in the United States. ASAPS is an organization composed of 2400-board-certified surgeons specializing in cosmetics surgery. Since 1997, ASAPS annually collects multi-specialty procedural statistics data to determine the cosmetic surgery popularity trend in the United States. Liposuction used to dominate the no. 1 spot since the ASPAS data collection began. It is the first time in twelve years that liposuction went down one notch lower. The president of ASPAS Alan Gold, MD remarked that, “For the first time in twelve years, these statistics have been collected; liposuction is a runner up in popularity to breast augmentation.”
In ASAPS press release dated March 16, 2009 entitled “Liposuction no Longer the Most Popular Surgical Procedure According to Statistics,” it reports that a total of 10.2 million surgical and nonsurgical cosmetics procedures were carried out in 2008 within United States. Statistics indicate that 92% of cosmetic procedures were availed of women while the remaining 8% constitute of men who had cosmetic procedures. ASAPS member surgeons performed exactly 341,144 lipoplasty (liposuction) procedures in 2008. 

liposuction statistics


What is Liposuction?

liposuction diagram

Liposuction is used for contouring some parts of the body including areas under the chin, neck, cheeks, upper arms, breasts abdomen, buttocks, hips, thighs, knees, calves and ankle areas. The cosmetic procedure has not been clear for use on the neck or face.

The Food and Drugs Authority Consumer Health Information (2007) “regulates the sale of medical devices and drugs that physician use to perform liposuction. This includes equipment such as canulas (a hollow tube that is about the size and shape of a skinny pen), pumps, collecting containers and ultrasound probes as well as anesthetics used during the procedure.”

Source: A.D.A.M. Inc. May 3, 2007

General reasons for performing liposuction

  1. Medline Plus (2009), a medical library which brings together authoritative information from National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health and other government agencies and health-related organizations, defines liposuction as a “popular type of cosmetic surgery that removes unwanted deposits of excess fat, to improve body appearance and to smooth irregular or distorted body shapes.”
  2. Liposuction is also sometimes referred to as body contouring.  Medline Plus enumerated the top reasons why people go through the cosmetic procedure of liposuction. These are:
  3. Removal of “love handles” (layer of fat that is deposited around a person’s midsection), fat bulges or an abnormal chin line etc.
  4. Reduction of abnormal fat deposits on the inner thighs which is said to improve sexual function by allowing easier access to the vagina
  5. Contouring or shaping to remove fatty bulges or irregularities which cannot be done otherwise through diet or exercise.
  6. Other reasons include reduction of men’s breasts to remove tumors (lymphoma).


Liposuction Techniques

Liposuction has many different techniques. Bray G. and Bouchard, C. (2008) states that there are three techniques employed by plastic surgeons in administering liposuction procedure. The most popular and commonly used technique is the tumenescent liposuction. This involves injecting a saline solution containing lidocaine and epinephrine into the surgical area where the volume of injected fluid is three to four times greater than the amount of fat removed.

The other techniques are called super-wet and power-assisted liposuction procedures. Bray & Bouchard described them as follows:

“Super-wet technique involves injecting the same amount of saline lidocaine and epinephrine solution as the amount of fluid aspirated. This lowers the risk of fluid overload, pulmonary edema and congestive heart failure but causes greater blood loss than tumenescent liposuction. Power-assisted liposuction on the other hand, involves the use of a specialized section cannula that has a mechanized movement making the procedure easier for the operator because of the decreased manual effort needed to perform the procedure.”

Medline Plus reports that there is a fairly new technique that is being used in the United States. The technique is called Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) which began in 1996. UAL technique involves liquefying fat cells through ultrasonic vibrations. This will allow vaccuming out of the fat cells. Medline Plus explains that:

“UAL can be done in two ways, external (above the surface of the skin with a special emitter) or internal (below the surface of the skin with a small, heated cannula). UAL is often used together with the tumescent technique, in follow-up (secondary) procedures, or for greater precision. In general, this procedure takes longer than the super-wet technique.”

liposuction shot



Liposuction Procedure Settings

Liposuction may be performed in a hospital setting, doctor’s office or a surgical center. If the plastic surgeon and patient agrees to perform the procedure in an office or surgical center, it should be maintained by the patient that the facility is in close proximity of an emergency room. Emergencies is always present in any operation thus, life-saving equipment need to be accessible at all times.

liposuction surgery

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons usually perform liposuction. However, any licensed physician has the option to conduct the procedure. Since there is no standardized training required for these physicians, the expertise, experience and training greatly vary.

The government provides inadequate restrictions and regulations to ascertain qualifications of physicians to perform cosmetic surgery. And because the profession is financially rewarding, physicians who are not properly trained have entered the field. As a result, safety of patients is compromised.

Physician’s professional affiliations especially plastic surgeons’ societies usually recommend training to members while others require specialized trainings.  But regardless of the amount of training a plastic surgeon has completed, it does not guarantee 100% safety of the liposuction procedure to patients.

Average Cost Of Liposuction

Nordenberg (n.d.) provides a list of average cost of surgeon fees for liposuction through research in four major cities in 2007. The list indicates that liposuction’s average cost is $2982 excluding other fees e.g. aftercare treatment, anesthesiologist, facility etc.

Loftus, J.  (2007) provides a different insight on liposuction cost in her book entitled "The Smart Woman's Guide to Plastic Surgery." Dr. Loftus is a widely recognized plastic surgeon expert in cosmetic surgery who practices cosmetic plastic surgery in Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. 
liposuction quote from person

In her book, she states that the cost of liposuction varies depending on the volume suctioned, specific areas as well as the number of areas suctioned and/or the amount of time spent in suctioning. Further, there is no standard liposuction cost. Cities have different quotations particularly in the surgeon’s fee area. The general rule is that the more experienced the plastic surgeon, the more expensive the rate. 


Dr. Loftus provides a comparison list of the nine areas she has studied. It reports:

chart for liposuction

“Note: Typically, each of the following (categories) counts as a single area: neck, abdomen, both hips, both flanks, both outer thighs, both inner thighs and both knees. Some surgeons further subdivide areas such as upper versus lower abdomen.”

Berry, B. (2008) cites the disparity of the amount of money being spent on beautifying oneself in the United States over education and social services. She states, “More important than the sheer cost, though, is the proportion of our money that goes to beautifying ourselves.”


Risks And Complications

There are a number of serious risks associated with liposuction surgery. Accidents and/or medical complications may occur during the procedure or after liposuction had been completed.

The list below provides a clear picture of risks and danger associated with liposuction.

Infections: Open wounds are susceptible to bacteria. It may inflict a patient who was not properly advised by the plastic surgeon on how to care for the wounds after the procedure. Inadequate sterilization of liposuction equipment can also result to infections after the procedure.

Fat Embolism: Loosened fat enters the blood vessels that were ruptured during liposuction. They can also end up in the lungs or the brain. This can lead to permanent disability and even death.

Puncture wounds in the organ: In the abdominal liposuction procedure, the canula is inserted to suck out fat accumulations. The physician is unable to determine the exact location of the canula. There is high probability that the canula could puncture internal organs such as intestines, liver and lungs which may require repair. Puncture wounds in the organ is also referred to as visceral perforations. This case is more often associated with the use of large canula. The result can be fatal.

liposuction table of stats

Swelling or edema: In some cases, swelling may persist for months or weeks which cause discomfort to the patient. In some cases, the patient may find it difficult to perform basic activities.

Skin necrosis: The ultrasonic energy can burn the skin or the blood vessels that supply the skin. Skin necrosis is the death of skin cells which usually happens in the UAL technique. Infection with bacteria or microorganisms may occur to large areas of skin necrosis.

Paresthesias: Liposuction can alter sensation at areas where the fats were removed. The effect is very extreme as the patient may either have an increased sensitivity to pain or numbness. Some patients may retain paresthesias permanently.

Toxicity from anesthesia: The use of lidocaine in liposuction, a skin numbing drug can cause various side effects. It can cause lightheadedness, drowsiness, restlessness, a ringing in the ears, slurred speech, a metallic taste in the mouth, numbness of the lips and tongue, shivering, muscle twitching and convulsions. The toxicity of licodaine can cause the patient’s heart to stop during the operation.

Hematoma or Seroma: This may occur during or after the liposuction procedure. Hematoma refers to bleeding into a closed area in the skin while seroma means pooling or leakage of blood serum into a closed area beneath the skin. There is higher probability of hematoma and seroma in excessive suctioning, use of large canulas and UAL technique.

Pulmonary edema: Excessive accumulation of fluids in the lungs is a known cause of excessive doses of intravenous fluids during and after the liposuction procedure. Critical cases could lead to death.

Burns and/or Scars: UAL can cause serious burns in the nerve, skin, tissue or internal organs if the ultrasound probe gets extremely hot during the procedure. Scars may vary from small to large and prominent.

Shock or Fluid Overload: Shock happens to a patient when insufficient fluid is replaced during the surgery. Fluid overload is the opposite where too much fluid is inserted during the procedure.

Skin irregularities or bumpy appearance: The area where the fat was removed may cause ridges, ripples or dimple-like appearance in the skin.


List of Inappropriate Candidates for Liposuction

Misconception about liposuction and some plastic surgeons unethical behaviors usually end up with hazardous results. Although there are credible plastic surgeons in the country, there is still an alarming number who do not take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of patients during and after the liposuction procedure.  The lack of information of both patients and negligence of some plastic surgeons causes severe detriment to the health of the patient.

Medline Plus asserts that liposuction should never be employed by a surgeon to substitute diet and exercise, to alleviate obesity or to treat cellulite. It should not be performed in other parts of the body, aside from specific areas allowed, particularly the fats on the sides of the breasts as this may actually cause breast cancer.

There are pre-existing medical conditions and behavioral patterns that need to be taken into account. ASPAS provides a list of inappropriate candidates for cosmetic surgery.

This includes:

1. Patients who are going through personal crises such as divorce, death of spouse and even job loss. Patients in crises are advised to resolve or work through the crisis first as the purpose of surgery might perceive the change in appearance as a solution to overcome the crisis.  

2. Patients with unrealistic expectations such as those who want to imitate celebrity nose or those who had accidents and want to restore the original perfection. This will eventually lead to dissatisfaction and unrealistic sense of self.

3. Patients who relentlessly seek consultation with different surgeons to find one who will give them the answer that they need. The problem with these patients is not at all based on the physical aspect of their lives. 

4. Patients who are obsessed with their physical appearance and wants to fix minor defects. A patient under this circumstance is inappropriate if they manifest belief that life will automatically get fixed as soon as they undergo surgery.

5. Patients who have mental illness or even those who manifest paranoid or delusional behaviors are also deemed unfit candidates. However, if the candidate is properly supervised by a psychiatrist and if the purpose of the surgery is considered reasonable, then the patient may be appropriate in such case.

liposuction checklist

Pre-existing medical conditions also play a crucial part in the administration of certain drugs and other potential risks that might occur during and after the procedure. Medline Plus provides a list of certain preexisting conditions.

This includes:

Most Common Causes of Death In Liposuction

American College of Chest Physicians (2009) reports that overall medical complication of liposuction occurs in 5 to 10 percent of the cases. Medical complications include anesthesia, seroma, edema, pigmentation, pain and hematoma. Abdominal liposuction can lead to pulmonary complications which include reduction in total lung capacity, vital capacity and functional residual capacity, mild hypoxemia and partial atelectasis. Pulmonary thromboelism (known risk of using general anesthesia, excessive surgical trauma and obesity) and fat embolism occurs after liposuction.

The most common causes of death associated with liposuction are ranked as follows:

1. Pulmonary embolus or blood clot in the lung

2. Infections

3. Abdominal organs injuries particularly liver, lungs and intestines

4. Drug reactions and side effects to anesthesia

The California Department of Consumer Affairs reports in its Spring 2006 newsletter publication entitled Consumer Connection that “deaths occurring from liposuction procedures ranged from 5000 to one in 1,000 (especially for patients undergoing multiple procedures).”

It states that cosmetic surgery has been one of the most lucrative medical specialties due to obsessive attention to beauty and youthfulness.

liposuction deaths


Liposuction Death Profiles

There is no public data that provides information about the total number of deaths associated with liposuction. Citizens only learn of the dangers of the procedure through individual reports of specific persons who have died in many parts of the world. Rowland (1999) reports:

“It's tough to gauge the extent of the problem because there is no mandatory or central reporting system in place to collect information on cosmetic surgery deaths and complications.”

The following profiles offer a glimpse of individual accounts of fatality in the hands of a plastic surgeon. The profiles below are just some of reported liposuction deaths all over the world.


Joel Cunningham

Date Died :January 8, 1998
Age upon Death : 33
Location : New Jersey
Cause of death : Heart Attack

liposuction patient death


Jeff Cunningham opted for tumenescent liposuction for his abdomen in light of his recent admission to the NYPD Police Academy. He was supposed to join the police force in the next few months after his liposuction procedure in the 8th of January, 1998.

However, Joel suffered a heart attack during the procedure.  Reports indicate that the doctors who operated Cunningham were unlicensed. His family was awarded$40 million in a malpractice suit filed by the family against the clinic owners of LaFontaine Cosmetic Surgery and Ski Care Center in Manhattan.

Source: JET Magazine June 23, 2003 publication


Donda West
Date Died :November 10, 2007
Age upon Death : 58
Location :Chicago, Illinois
Cause of death : pre-existing coronary artery disease and multiple post-operative factors following surgery

liposuction death Donda West


Donda West is the mother and manager of the rapper, record producer, author and singer Kanye West. The day before her death, she went through several cosmetic surgery procedures including liposuction, breast reduction and tummy tuck.

West reported consulted another plastic surgeon but declined to operate her due to the potential risk of heart attack. Following her death, a proposed California bill entitled Donda West Law was filed for the 2008 legislative session.

liposuction facts

The proposed bill would require medical clearance for elective cosmetic surgery. The plastic surgeon who performed the cosmetic surgery procedures of Donda West reportedly surrendered his medical license due to multiple alcohol-related convictions. His medical license was suspended on June 25, 2008. 

Sources: Assembly Member News Release Feb. 22, 2008 & Los Angeles Times May 26, 2008 


Amy Fledderman

Date Died :May 25, 2001
Age upon Death : 18
Location :Newton Square, Philadelphia
Cause of death :fat embolism syndrome

liposuction surgery gone wrong


Amy Fledderman, a rising Pen State sophomore student went through liposuction surgery procedure on her abdomen, flanks and under her chin on May 23, 2001.

The procedure was conducted at the plastic surgeon’s office. Two days after liposuction, she was brought to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. She was pronounced dead caused by fat embolism syndrome, a complication where fat enters the bloodstream and lodges in the person's lungs.

The Fledderman attorney was quoted as saying “She choked on her own blood.” The family filed a civil suit against the plastic surgeon and nurse anesthetist. They claimed that a blood vessel in Amy Fledderman’s neck was cut off during the liposuction procedure below chin. 

They also reported that the plastic surgeon’s office did not have a valid license from the Department of Health. The plastic surgeon liposuction privileges had also been restricted by the Main Line Health Hospitals.

A Philadelphia jury awarded compensatory and punitive damages of $20.5 million to the parents, Daniel and Colleen Fledderman. The verdict came seven years after her death.

Source: 6abc Action News May 23, 2008

Fabiola B. DePaula

Date Died :July 2006
Age upon Death : 24
Location :Framingham, Massachusetts
Cause of death : complications from the surgery including pulmonary fat emboli or fat particles in the lungs

liposuction mistake


Fabiola DePaula, a Brazilian immigrant was planning to travel to Texas and wanted to look good for the trip when she opted for a fat-removal surgery. This report was based on the report gathered by News on August 1, 2006 from a woman who did not wish to be identified. She claimed that she visited the plastic surgeon to discuss having liposuction on the same day that DePaula was waiting along with other five other women for their turn on the procedure. 

liposuction facts

DePaula was operated by a Brazilian couple who travels back and forth Brazil and Massachusetts regularly. The couple would enter US under 30-day work visas. They operated an illegal cosmetic surgery clinic in a friend’s condominium at Framingham for several years prior to death of Depaula. The patients were allegedly asked to pay as much as $3000 for a cosmetic procedure. Authorities alleged that the cosmetic surgery procedures were conducted in a make-shift basement clinic. Patients lie in a massage table and sedated with prescription drugs. There was no emergency oxygen place.

Reports indicate that DePaula went unconscious during the procedure and rushed to MetroWest Medical Center where she was pronounced dead. The plastic surgeon is not registered to perform plastic surgery in Brazil and United States.

The plastic surgeon was charged of practicing medicine without license and illegal distribution of narcotics. The plastic surgeon’s ex-wife pleaded guilty to manslaughter and performing nurse duties for her husband. The basement owner was also charged of distributing illegal narcotics to plastic surgery patients.       

Sources: Medical News Today August 2, 2006, News August 1, 2006, MSNBC News January 30, 2008 & CBS News January 30, 2008 

Krista Stryland

Date Died : September 13, 2007
Age upon Death : 32
Location : Davisville, Toronto
Cause of death : massive blood loss (hemorrhagic shock)

liposuction death


Krista Stryland was a successful Toronto real estate agent and a single mother of two. She went through abdominal liposuction in a private clinic at Toronto Cosmetic Clinic located at North York.

According to the expert report of an anesthetist, Stryland suffered from hemorrhagic shock while at the recovery room of the cosmetic clinic. The expert report indicates that there was a grave negligence committed by the plastic surgeon. More than 2 ½ hours have already passed since Stryland’s condition became unstable before paramedics were called.

On July 14, 2009, reports that “Lawyers for the College of Physicians and Surgeons presented allegations that (the plastic surgeon) repeatedly breached professional standards including using an "aggressive" liposuction technique that removed amounts of fat well beyond professional standards.”

The plastic surgeon is said to have “used false advertising and compelled patients to pay in advance for procedures priced at several thousand dollars with the understanding they would forfeit half the amount if they decide not to proceed” according to a college lawyer.

A disciplinary hearing was also launched by the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons under the allegations of "disgraceful, dishonorable and unprofessional" conduct in the surgeon’s care of 28 patients.



Denise Hendry

Date Died: July 2009
Age upon Death: 43
Location: Lytham St Annes, Lancashire

Cause of death: blood poisoning, kidney failure, heart attack and a collapsed lung

liposuction side effect


Denise Hendry is the wife of Colin Hendry, the former football player for Scotland. He played as the captain for the team during the World Cup on 1998. Denise Hendry reportedly opted for a minor liposuction surgery because she wanted to wear a bikini after giving birth to her fourth child.
On April 2002 at age 36, she was operated at a private Broughton Park Hospital for a £2,400 minor liposuction. During the surgery, her heart stopped breathing for approximately four minutes. Hendry suffered blood poisoning, kidney failure, a heart attack and a collapsed lung. The doctors were able to bring her back through resuscitation.

She stayed in the intensive care unit (ICU) for six weeks under life support machine. At one point during her stay at the ICU, doctors have indicated that she only had 30% chance of survival. But her husband Colin refused to give up when he was asked to consider switching off the life support machine. Denise regained consciousness after six weeks. In 2006, she was awarded £300,000 in compensation, the largest payout to date in botched liposuction surgery.

But the botched liposuction cannot compensate Hendry’s perforated intestine and colon for a total of nine times. She went through 20 corrective operations since 2002. On May 2009, after 16 hours of reconstructive surgery on her abdomen at Salford Royal Hotel in Greater Manchester, she contracted an infection which put her to coma once again. That was supposedly her last corrective operation. Hendry’s husband and family were forced to give her up and switch off her life support machine when doctors told them she had no chance of survival.

Hendry’s plastic surgeon was allowed voluntary retirement in 2003 when the General Medical Council (GMC) agreed to request that he will be taken out of the medical register.

News reports indicate that the plastic surgeon is still performing cosmetic surgery in Sweden, his hometown. He is still permitted to operate abroad except for UK.

Source: News July 13, 2009

liposuction accident



David Scott Kelley

Date Died : September 2000
Age upon Death : unknown
Location : Seattle
Cause of death : unconfirmed

liposuction doctor error


David Scott Kelley was a dentist by profession. On year 2000, he went through liposuction on his neck and cosmetic surgery on nose and chin. The procedure was conducted at an oral plastic surgeon’s office in Seattle. Kelly’s cosmetic procedures were already completed when he experienced swelling in the lower part of his face. While in recovery, Kelley reportedly suffered internal bleeding.

His plastic surgeon brought him into a second surgery to determine the source of bleeding. However, Kelley did not make it. He was pronounced dead at a Swedish hospital hours after the botched cosmetic procedures. Reports indicate that the second surgery took approximately 45 hours that is why Kelley’s vital signs collapsed.

Further, the medical board concluded that CPR was conducted six minutes after Kelley stopped breathing. Kelley’s family did not file charges against the plastic surgeon but the family reportedly received a payment of $225, 000 to settle the case. The plastic surgeon’s was ordered to pay a fine of $4000. His license was not restricted.

Source: SeattlePi Special Report October 4, 2005



Lauren James

Date Died :January 22, 2007
Age upon Death : 26
Location : Caulfield, Australia
Cause of death :unconfirmed

liposuction tragedy

Lauren James worked as a Montreal property valuer when she was still alive. One Friday on January 19, 2007, James went through liposuction procedure on both thighs and buttocks. The procedure was conducted at the Centre of Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Caulfield.

Lauren was discharged the same day. However, she complained of pain and suffered from bleeding over the weekend. Lauren was brought back to the plastic surgeon on Monday. She eventually died at around 8pm on January 22, 2007.  
Source: Herald JANUARY 28, 2007

liposuction family death

Permanent Disability and Disfigurement Caused by Botched Liposuction


Mona Alley

Date of Liposuction : November 24, 2000
Age upon Surgery : 46
Location : Fort Lauderdale, Broward
Cause of Disability : perforated intestine and multiple medical complication 
Consequence : complications from the surgery including pulmonary fat emboli or fat particles in the lungs

liposuction mishap


Mona Alley used to be a champion bowler. She was enticed by a local TV advertisement for Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Fort Lauderdale. She decided to go through liposuction to remove her belly fat.

Mona had pre-existing Type II diabetes which she relayed to the plastic surgeon prior to the surgery. Alley claims that the surgeon told her that it will be “fantastic” for her condition. Alley was planning to go back bowling the week after.

The day after her liposuction, she experienced severe stomach pains and missed her post-operative check-up with the doctor. She thought it was normal. 

Two weeks later, Alley had become too weak that she could not even walk or eat. She was hospitalized over the next years. Findings indicate that her intestine was perforated during the surgery. In a lawsuit filed by Alley against the center owners and the plastic surgeon, she claimed that the perforated intestine caused wastes to spread through her abdomen.

Mona Alley used to be a champion bowler. She was enticed by a local TV advertisement for Florida Center for Cosmetic Surgery in Fort Lauderdale. She decided to go through liposuction to remove her belly fat. Mona had pre-existing Type II diabetes which she relayed to the plastic surgeon prior to the surgery. Alley claims that the surgeon told her that it will be “fantastic” for her condition. Alley was planning to go back bowling the week after.

The day after her liposuction, she experienced severe stomach pains and missed her post-operative check-up with the doctor. She thought it was normal.  Two weeks later, Alley had become too weak that she could not even walk or eat. She was hospitalized over the next years. Findings indicate that her intestine was perforated during the surgery. In a lawsuit filed by Alley against the center owners and the plastic surgeon, she claimed that the perforated intestine caused wastes to spread through her abdomen. liposuction recovery

Over the next couple of months, Alley will become a regular visitor to the hospital due to infections and complications. Alley became bedridden. She developed bedsores and circulatory problems. She had no choice but to allow doctors to amputate both her legs above the knee. She was featured in a 2006 HBO documentary produced and directed by David Heilbroner and Kate Davis entitled “Plastic Disasters.” Mona said that she was told it was going to be a simple procedure.  Source: The New York Times June 5, 2006


Dying to Look Good

Liposuction will never be risk-free. As in any surgical procedure, anything can go wrong. There is no standard qualification or training for plastic surgeons. This means that what may have worked to others will not necessarily work for you.

The men and women presented above were contemplating the same exact thing that is probably on the mind of many individuals right now. “I want to get rid of my belly fat” or “I want to look better.” Given the opportunity, they would have probably done it otherwise.

One facial liposuction advertisement quotes “You never get a second chance at first impression.” The advertisement is then followed with “Cheap Liposuction.” A liposuction clinic or a plastic surgeon knows exactly how to sell their services. Culture and social pressures dictate that obesity is naturally associated with insecurity and inadequacy. The popularity of vanity-oriented shows has never been more pronounced in today’s entertainment industry. Such unsighted perceptions lead many people to alter the course of nature.  Dying to look good has become an unnecessary preoccupation among adults and teens nowadays.

Ordinary citizens like Mona Alley and countless others who have been severely disfigured or disabled once believed that life will be so much better after liposuction.  A 72-year old postal worker in Florida saved money for many years just to get the dream liposuction procedure. She died as a result.
The cliché that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder is not an option to millions of people who went under the knife to suck out undesirable fat. But the cost of “beauty” is not without a gamble.

The mortality rate for liposuction deaths ranks higher than the number of deaths in car accidents. The rate is also 20 times higher than any other form of elective cosmetic surgery. The figures are alarming and liposuction clinics and hospitals do their best to hide this disturbing truth. Lack of comprehensive laws on elective cosmetic surgery also plays a detrimental role to the proliferation of “fly-by-night” plastic surgeons as in the case of Fabiola DePaula who died in the basement of a condominium acting as a make-shift liposuction clinic.

While there may be highly qualified plastic surgeons in the country, a single liposuction procedure can go wrong. A slip of the canula and internal organs are perforated. Denise Hendry only wants to wear a bikini but it wasted her final years and eventually, took away her life. It is not a crime to look younger and sexier. But it is major recklessness to risk one’s life for the sake of external façade.

Alternatives to Liposuction

liposuction alternatives

There are many ways to alleviate the signs of aging and eliminate unwanted fats. Liposuction, if successful, will only reap its benefit if that person continues to maintain the body that he/she desired. At the end of the day, it will also boil down to two things; proper diet and exercise. The question is, “Why do you have to spend so much money and even risk your life for a brief relief?

Heredity or other biological factors can be a good excuse to while away the time and hope and pray that excess fat will soon go away. If you have ever seen the show “The Biggest Loser” aired by Hallmark Channel, it can provide you with a better perspective of your condition and inspire you to take that big leap to long-lasting wellness. As a famous cliché says, “It’s all in the mind.” Indeed it is.

But you do not need to become a part of a show to achieve a flawless, not to mention healthy body that you desire. A little alteration in your daily routine can create that much difference.

Here are some effective ways to preserve your health and ultimately, your life.


Daily Exercise Can Also Keep the Doctor Away

liposuction exercise

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) aims to improve the health of older people.  The institute published a guideline entitled “Exercise: A Guide from the National Institute of Aging” to prevent potential health problems. Contrary to accustomed beliefs that physical activities need to be limited as a person gets older, NIA asserts that “not exercising is risky behavior.” (2009) reports that too much belly fat increases the risk of heart disease, breast cancer, diabetes, metabolic syndrome (combination of medical disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases and diabetes which affects 1 in 5 people), gallbladder problems, high blood pressure and colorectal cancer.
Below are some tips to help increase your metabolism without the need to go to the gym or afford any special equipment.

Hire Yourself

Take charge of activities that require automated machines or hired labor. Simple tasks such as washing the car, mowing the lawn or walking your dog can provide beneficial results. Regular activities will help increase your body’s metabolism and thus, allow your body to burn fat easily.   

Walk the Extra Mile

Do you know that you can take exercise while you shop? If you have ample time to spend at the grocery or at the mall, spend a few extra minutes in walking.  Park your car farther than usual and take a bit of walk. If you have that much motivation, why don’t you skip elevators and/or escalators and enjoy striding along the stairs. You can also take a walk on your way to work if it is only a short distance away. This way, you are able to rejuvenate your body and maintain your energy throughout the day.



Act Friendlier at the Office

Computers and the Internet are supposed to make work easier. But it also brought forth laziness among employees which contributes a lot with obesity in the workplace. Instead of sending emails to office mates who works two doors away, why don’t you get up and provide/ask information that you require. You do not only get a bit of exercise but you also enhance relationship at the office.


Make the Janitor ‘s Life a Bit Easier

While it is the responsibility of the company’s janitor to clean up your mess 8 hours a day 5 days a week and 20 days a month, you can offer a helping hand and help yourself in the process as well. Arrive early at the office or spend a bit time before going home to pick up your trash. Make this your daily habit. You do not only keep your surroundings clean which helps you become organized at work but you also wiggle away inactive fats in your body. 

Balanced Diet and Proper Nutrition

Your current diet affects the status of your weight condition and overall health condition today and tomorrow. Junk foods have become a way of life for many Americans. This is evident in the state of obesity in the United States. Almost two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.

Promotion of healthy diet is not just an option for individuals. It is necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle and ultimately, achieve a longer life. A healthy body does away with potential health problems which constitute mortality and morbidity rates in the country. There are a good number of books and health guides that an average citizen can use to start a diet program.
Here are some effective ways to help you avoid unnecessary weight-gain temptations.


List What You Need, Avoid What You Want

Plan your menu for the week or even for the day when you go out shopping. Create a list of the essential products that you need to buy. Shopping without a list provides a lot of temptations to put anything that you fancy in the cart. That includes junk food. Stick to your list. Motivate yourself and avoid justifications in the process. Do you find yourself say, “I need my comfort food after a hard day’s work” or “I will just enroll in a gym tomorrow.” Chances are each day is a difficult day or the plan to go to the gym is put off for another tomorrow or the day after tomorrow and so on and so forth. Start today.


Eat Your Meal Before Shopping

Because you are hungry, anything that you see looks delicious as you crave for food at the moment.


Eat at Regular Intervals

Schedule your eating time each day. Your body gets conditioned to food intake this way. You will only get hungry at a specified time. Avoid going hungry for a long time as this will not only disrupt your eating schedule but you also encourage cravings.

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It is always easy to procrastinate. It always makes sense to live each day as if it is your last. But the reality is you might still be here tomorrow or decades after. How you treat your body today will determine the kind of life that you will have in the future.

Would you like to spend days, months in a hospital or under a care of a nursing aide because you could not even perform basic functions such as feed yourself or get yourself to the bathroom?

The idea may seem far-fetched to your current life situation. But this may be an impending doom if you do not start today.


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