Surgeon Punctures Lung & Liver During Tummy Tuck Liposuction

Case Overview
Client underwent a “tummy tuck” (abdominoplasty/liposuction) performed by a plastic surgeon. The procedure was an outpatient one, and following her recovery Pt was discharged to home. At home, she experienced increasing pain, abdominal swelling and discomfort, and trouble breathing. Several days after discharge, she woke from a nap with severe trouble breathing, and called 911. She was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, where it was discovered that she had both a punctured lung and a punctured liver. She was taken to surgery, where the punctures were repaired and drains/chest tube were placed. She spent 16 days in the hospital.

Is puncturing of the lung and the liver an acceptable complication of the abdominoplasty/liposuction procedure? If so, are such complications discoverable, and should they be discovered (and repaired) at the conclusion of the procedure, and before the patient is released to recovery?

medQuest Expert Opinions:
Puncturing the lung and liver is probably outside the bounds of acceptable complications for liposuction. I doubt this would be discovered at the time unless there were some dramatic acute problem. You can not see the area and are doing this by feel.
Dr RY – Plastic Surgeon

A punctured lung or liver is not an anticipated complication from a tummy tuck and liposuction. Before making definitive conclusions, were these complications directly related to the procedures? Were they discoverable?
Dr SK – Plastic Surgeon

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