When Cosmetic Surgery Goes Wrong

How far would you go for a better-looking body? One woman traveled all the way from her Caribbean hometown to Miami and likely spent thousands of dollars in her quest for liposuction. Liposuction is a cosmetic procedure that removes fat from certain areas of the body. Unlike some questionable procedures, liposuction is totally legal, and is a popular cosmetic surgery in the United States. While not technically a weight-loss method, liposuction can help people feel confident about their bodies, which can encourage a healthier, happier lifestyle.

But for the woman in Miami, the procedure took a dangerous turn. She stopped breathing during the procedure, and was later pronounced dead. Was this the result of a bad doctor or a medical mistake? Or is liposuction way more dangerous than anyone originally thought?

What is Liposuction?

The purpose of a liposuction is to remove fat deposits from the skin, giving the area a smoother and flatter look. This is done by literally sucking the fat out of the skin! Before the procedure, the patient usually receives an epidural, which numbs the injection site. Then, the doctor makes a small incision into the skin and pushes a hollow, stainless steel tube, called a cannula, into the deep fat layer. The fat cells break up when the cannula is pushed through the fat. The fat is then removed with a vacuum pump or syringe.


Any procedure, regardless of whether its purposes are cosmetic or medical, comes with potential complications. Along with complications related to anesthesia, liposuction’s complications can include:

  • Contour irregularities
  • Fluid accumulation
  • Numbness
  • Infection
  • Internal puncture
  • Fat embolism
  • Kidney problems
  • Heart problems

In the woman’s death in Miami, a fat embolism was the culprit. This occurs when pieces of loosened fat break away during the procedure, becoming trapped in a blood vessel, or even gathering in the lungs or brain.

The Potential for Medical Malpractice

Some complications, like skin irregularities, may arise naturally, depending on personal factors like the patient’s skin type. Others, however, might be the result of medical negligence or recklessness. During the procedure, a doctor is expected to do things like use sterile tools and monitor the patient. If they do not take these necessary steps and the patient suffers harm, they may be committing medical malpractice.

When medical malpractice occurs during a cosmetic procedure like liposuction, the victim or their family deserves justice and compensation, just as they would if the harm occurred during heart surgery or a routine dental check. Even though the victim may have actively sought out the surgery for cosmetic reasons, their harm is still very valid, and doctors and surgeons need to be help accountable for their actions.


The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.


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