Be Aware of the Risks of Cosmetic Procedures and Drugs Used in Such Procedures

A new style of cosmetic liposuction leaves patients fully awake with only local injections of lidocaine to control their pain at the site where the doctor is suctioning their body fat. This treatment is touted as a way for patients to experience their liposuction fully awake. (Perhaps on the theory that nothing can go wrong while a patient is awake) But there’s no evidence it’s better for patients. It does lower the cost, however, by allowing the doctor to skip the extra expense of having an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist present to keep the patient sedated safely. Such cost benefits may come with their own much higher personal price, increased risk.

In Florida last year a 37 year old mother of three young children, ages 4, 5 and 7, was left brain dead after a liposuction procedure at the Weston MedSpa. The procedure was known as Carboxy Therapy, a medical procedure that improves the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks by injections of carbon dioxide. Lidocaine was used during the procedure. According to plastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Levine of New York City, this anesthetic can prove deadly if administered incorrectly.

Lidocaine, the local anesthetic drug typically used in “tumescent liposuction,” is a dangerous substance. Too much injected into a patient’s system can travel to the heart and numb the nerve fibers that transmit the electrical impulses that make the heart fire, causing a rhythm disturbance or complete cardiac arrest.

Another product on the market, LipoDissolve, is the brand name for an injectable drug that is supposed to melt fat. The patient gets a series of injections that supposedly dissolve the bonds between fat cells, and the body then flushes the fat away. Patients who’ve had these injections have reported to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they’ve developed painful knots under their skin, scarring, deformities and other bad results. The drugs used — chemicals caled phosphatidylcholine (PC) and deoxycholate (DC) — have not been proven to be effective for these purposes. The FDA has tried to crack down on these treatments by sending letters to various “medspas” stating that the FDA is unaware of evidence to support the safety claims for Lipodissolve products.

Anyone undergoing any type of surgery whatsoever should insist on at least the presence of a certified nurse anesthetist, and a doctor specializing in anesthesiology should be present in the building to provide backup for any emergencies. The Tucson personal injury lawyers at Bache & Lynch are ready to provide information on the legal rights of anyone who thinks they have been injured in cosmetic procedures performed by medspas (also known as medical spas) and in doctors’ offices.