The dangers of liposuction

The dangers of liposuction


A look at the tragic case of Denise Hendry, two things you should check before undergoing the liposuction procedure and the reason the back is now the most popular area for liposuction

Liposuction – the removal of unwanted body fat in an operation involving a surgical suction vacuum – has received a lot of media attention lately.

Much of it has concerned the recent case of Denise Hendry – the wife of former footballer Colin Hendry. Her botched liposuction operation is a tragic reminder of the dangers of cosmetic surgery.

No win, No fee solicitors such as Claims Direct can help people who seek compensation if surgery goes wrong and it can be proved that medical negligence caused a personal injury.

The medical negligence in Denise Hendry’s case involved a liposuction operation in which her bowel was punctured nine times.

Sheer clumsiness

According to the BBC, a report from the National Care Standards Commission said these punctures were the result of “sheer clumsiness” on the part of the surgeon.

In 2009, after seven years’ of bad health resulting from the operation, Mrs Hendry died while undergoing one of several corrective surgery operations.

The mother-of-four successfully sued the Swedish cosmetic surgeon involved, a Dr Gustaf Aniansson. 

A coroner decided that the cause of death in Mrs Hendry’s case was blood clotting from a drain inserted into her head to relieve pressure and meningitis.

'Still practising'

Those who pursue personal injury cases often do so to try and prevent other people from going through the same ordeal that they or their relatives have been through.

But, shockingly, it is thought that Dr Aniansson is still a practising surgeon in his homeland, Sweden.

This is despite lawyers representing Colin Hendry notifying the Swedish medical authorities of reports blaming the surgeon for the death.

The BBC quoted Per Anders Sunesson, Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare, as saying: "When the time passes like this, seven years, and there has been no major incidents in the seven years, can you revoke his licence? The court in Sweden would say no in this case.”

But the board is now investigating a complaint from one of the doctor’s Swedish patients.

NHS Liposuction

The NHS does not carry out liposuction for cosmetic reasons. But it does sometimes undertake the procedure if it can help a patient’s reconstructive surgery.  This can be appropriate when people have conditions such as lymphoedema (where there is excess fluid and extreme swelling throughout the body).

Fear of the risks attached to liposuction – infection, blood clotting and scarring – makes the NHS understandably reluctant to carry out the procedure.

Liposuction advice

Its website stresses that liposuction can only “change the shape of your body; it cannot make you lose weight, or reduce the appearance of cellulite”.

The NHS advises that if you do decide to opt for liposuction, you should check at least two things. 

Firstly, you should ensure that your surgeon has been trained in both general and plastic surgery. Secondly, you must check that they are listed on the General Medical Council’s specialist register of plastic surgeons.

Despite continuing news reports highlighting the dangers of liposuction, it seems that the procedure continues to be popular.

Back liposuction

The Daily Mirror recently carried a story about a 54 per cent rise in the popularity of back liposuction –the back is now the most popular body area for fat removal, overtaking the stomachs and thighs. It is thought that celebrities’ love of wearing backless dresses at red carpet events explains the trend.

Male liposuction

Liposuction is also gaining in popularity with the male population; the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported that last year there was a seven per cent increase in the number of men seeking the treatment.