Liposuction and Anesthesia

Usher’s wife recently went into cardiac arrest just after the administration of anesthesia for liposuction treatment. The news might have sparked concern about liposuction. Yet, liposuction is one of the safest plastic surgery procedures of all. In 2007, there were over 300,000 liposuction procedures performed, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons

In truth, Usher’s wife’s cardiac arrest occurred following the delivery of anesthesia. Though the cause for Usher’s wife’s cardiac arrest are unknown. Perhaps, it’s timely to review the risks associated with anesthesia. First, let’s explore the types of anesthesia that may be used in liposuction.


  • Lidocaine is delivered through a cannula that is used to perform tumescent liposuction. Lidocaine provides a mild anesthetic benefit.


  • There are different levels of sedation which may produce a range of effects from calming to semi-consciousness that may induce sleep.

Local Anesthesia:

  • Local anesthesia relates to anesthesia that is administered at the surgical site to provide a numbing effect surrounding the treatment area.

General Anesthesia:

  • General anesthesia which produces loss of consciousness for the procedure.

  • Most often, local anesthesia and sedation are used in liposuction. It is rare to administer general anesthesia in liposuction unless multiple procedures are being performed simultaneously. It is rare to have complications from anesthesia in liposuction as well. Yet, as with all medical procedures, there are risks associated with anesthesia such as an adverse reaction.

    There are ways to reduce the risk associated with anesthesia. Most importantly, risks to anesthesia may be reduced when patients fully disclose the use of over-the-counter-drugs, prescription medications, supplements and natural healing remedies. Certain medications and supplements add to the risk for a complication from anesthesia. In addition, certain medical conditions may add risks to anesthesia. Therefore, the disclosure of complete medical history, medications and supplements allows plastic surgeons to take precautions against the risk of an anesthesia related complication prior to liposuction treatment. In the end, sedation and local anesthesia are relatively safe forms of anesthesia. The risks associated with these two forms are lower than general anesthesia.

Back to List of Articles

view our videos

like us on facebook

connect on twitter

follow on instagram