Well known Kannada TV actress Chethana Raj died a facing complications after undergoing a ‘fat-free’ cosmetic surgery at a private hospital in Bengaluru. According to media reports, it is said that the 21-year-old actress’ lungs filled up with fluid and hence she suffered a cardiac arrest on late Monday. It is being said that Chethana apparently did not inform her parents before going through the surgery and the consent form was filled out by one of her friends.
According to reports, it is alleged that the surgery was done in a hospital ICU which lacked the basic facilities. The incident has left friends and fans in shock as well as has glinted a debate on how safe are these plastic surgeries. This leaves a question in everyone’s mind that how body image issues and the desire to look a certain way could actually be fatal.
Dr. Arjun Handa, MBBS, MS – General Surgery, DNB – Plastic Surgery explained everything about the procedure of liposuction, and what could have possibly gone wrong with the young actress.
What is liposuction or fat-free cosmetic surgery?
Liposuction is a shape-changing procedure through which stubborn fat is removed from a specific part of the body. The procedure is extremely effective as it can remove all the excess fat, i.e. 100% fat, from the affected body part. Small incisions 3-4 mm in size are made, fat is bathed with solution, melted and sucked out. The procedure can be applied to remove fat from different body parts such as the abdomen, breasts, arms, chin, thighs, hips, buttocks, and others, said Dr. Arjun Handa.
He said, the SAFE technique is used by the surgeon to remove the body fat. It stands for -Separation, Aspiration and Fat Equalisation. The surgeon separates the fat cells and then aspirates them with fluid. Then, the fat cells are spread across the area to make the skin smooth and natural. One can go for liposuction in case of a large area or multiple areas of extra fat.
Liposuction not a solution for obesity, Says expert
According to reports published in the HT Digital, Dr. Adhishwar Sharma, Senior Consultant, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram said that people these days think liposuction can fix their obesity issues which is wrong.
“People with near ideal weight and have got little fat excess and want to get rid of that are candidates for liposuction. Some people are selling liposuction as a cure for obesity. No it is not. The best tip for obesity is diet restriction, increasing your movement and taking a nutritious diet,” says Dr Sharma.
He adds that if fire is used as a tool to lose weight, accidents can occur even under trained hands because the body is not able to handle it. According to Dr. Sharma, there is a lot of fluid shift during liposuction, and a morbidly obese patient could develop certain complications.
Chethana Raj’s death could have been caused by one of several factors:
Given that Chethana Raj did not appear to have any obesity issues, Dr. Sharma suspects lignocaine toxicity during the procedure, which could have resulted in the tragedy in the absence of facilities. During procedures, lignocaine is commonly used as a numbing agent. “In the event of a lignocaine overdose, the brain enters a deep sleep; there may be cardiac toxicity, in which the heart is functioning but not beating.”
“In the event of a lignocaine overdose, the brain goes into deep sleep; there could be cardiac toxicity, in which the heart functions but is unable to pump much blood and the heart rate skyrockets, which is known as ventricular tachycardia,” explains Dr. Sharma as per reports published in HT.
“When these complications occur, you will require overnight ventilation to recover because the drug is slowly metabolised by the body. If you are in a small centre with no facilities, the patient will die “the expert adds. He claims that liposuction is a common surgery performed around the world, but it requires trained and qualified personnel as well as proper facilities.
What are certain things that one needs to keep in mind pre and post liposuction?
Dr. Handa explained, “there are two stages- the pre-liposuction stage and post-liposuction stage. During both of these periods, one must be careful about health and healthy habits. Before the liposuction is performed, the candidate must perform mild to moderate exercise for 2-3 weeks every day. The candidate needs to stop taking herbal and vitamin supplements if taking. Consumption of tobacco, alcohol and smoking should be stopped. Diet should be healthy containing all the nutrients.”
After performing liposuction, candidates need to wear a compression garment for 24 hours a day 7 days a week for at least 1 month. One should take lymphatic massages as advised by the plastic surgeon. Smoking and drinking should be avoided. A healthy diet should be maintained. And, a walk for 30 min per day at a moderate pace is beneficial, he added.
Are there any risk factors involved?
According to Dr Handa, “Like every other surgery, liposuction may cause some negative effects such as skin numbness, skin necrosis, residual fat, and asymmetric shape. The procedure may not produce the desired results. But these can be avoided by selecting a certified plastic surgeon for the surgery. Also, the candidate must have a lengthy and extensive discussion with the surgeon about the procedure, risk factors and the expected results.”