- WASHINGTON -
are dying to get rid of that extra fat. Literally. A survey
surgeons in the United States suggests that compared to
other kinds of
operations, more people die during liposuction.
- The procedure is
called lipoplasty. It involves sucking
fat from specific spots on the
body. The operation is often performed
quickly and in doctors' offices
instead of in hospitals.
- According to the American Society of Plastic and
Surgeons (ASPRS), lipoplasty has become the most common
surgical procedure in the U.S.
- In their report, Dr. Frederick
Grazer of Penn State University
and Dr. Rudolph de Jong of the Thomas
Jefferson Medical College suggest
that outpatient elective lipoplasty
may not be safe.
- The report is published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive
- Grazer and De Jong polled 1,200 members of the American
of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), asking them if they
any patient who died after liposuction. In 1996, ASPRS members
performed 109,353 liposuctions.
- The 917 respondents reported 95 deaths in more than
operations. That works out to one death in 5,224, or 19 per
most common cause of death was a pulmonary
thromboembolism, a blood clot.
- The generally accepted death rate for any kind of
surgery, the type not needed to save someone's life, is one in
- The researchers say more people are killed in the U.S.
lipoplasty than in car accidents. The fatality rate for car accidents
is 16.1 per 100,000.
- The surgeons and the journal admit their survey was not
scientific but they say the results are still disturbing.
- Dr. Rod Rohrich,
professor and chair of plastic surgery
at Southwestern Medical Center
in Dallas, doesn't agree with some of the
data but points out that
lipoplasty is a major operation and shouldn't
- Rohrich says the
report shows that people were not treating
lipoplasty as a serious
operation. Three-quarters of the patients who
died were operated on in
a doctor's office instead of in an accredited
hospital. They died after
they returned home.
- According to Rohrich, the ASAPS and the ASPRS, the two
bodies that regulate and train plastic surgeons, will conduct their own
study. The organizations will monitor 2,000 liposuction patients over two