The margins of safety for administration of sedation and local anaesthesia are very narrow. While the inexperienced may often get away with it, the internet is replete with unnecessary deaths and injury when it doesn’t go right.
Patients die from cosmetic surgery in several ways
Toxic doses of local anaesthetic are administered which cause cardiac arrest. This may be the cause in both the recent Chippendale case and the cases last year at Bondi Junction. There is a narrow margin between therapeutic and toxic doses of local anaesthetic. Where surgeons try to perform large procedures under local anaesthetic these margins may not exist at all.
The patient suffers airway obstruction and impairment of their breathing because of the sedation provided. This is what happened to Michael Jackson, and likely played a role in the death of Joan Rivers. Without the skills, equipment and facilities to provide airway and breathing support patients will continue to die unnecessarily.
Patients die or are severely debilitated because of tissue damage, infections and physiological stress from the procedures themselves. Particles (emboli) of fat or prosthetic filler can enter the blood system and block the circulation causing cardiac arrest. Further many people have committed suicide because of the resultant appearance of their cosmetic surgery.
Even when strict standards are attained, no corners cut, patients still suffer adverse events.
Beyond this there is another pressing issue that we must not overlook.
As an anaesthetist I assess sick patients booked for surgery to treat disease. Sometimes after open discussions between the patient, surgeon and myself we decide that the risks of operation exceed the benefits. This decision, that their quality of life is greater through avoiding surgery, is never made easily.
There is no medical benefit to cosmetic procedures and there is significant risk of immediate and long term harm. Any perceived psychological benefits are influenced by the heavy advertising people are subjected to. Societal pressure impairs people’s ability to accept their own natural beauty.
While cosmetic surgeons might provide a semblance of the risks involved, how tangible are these risks to the patient? Do their patients see the images of tissue destruction and learn of the misery suffered by many?
Perhaps with cosmetic practice it’s time for the level of counter advertising that’s been so successful in Australia to curtail cigarette smoking.
Should we insist images of perceived perfection be removed, banned, and replaced with the real images of harm from cosmetic surgery?
Below we’ve started collating deaths from cosmetic surgery. Please click on each story to read more:
This list represents only some of the deaths we’ve found reported on the internet, perhaps a small percentage of the true number.