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Chest. 1988 Jun;93(6):1294-5.

Fat embolism after liposuction.

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Houston Lung and Asthma Clinic.


We present a case of adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) after extensive liposuction. On the basis of fever, tachypnea, hypoxia, and ARDS occurring within 48 hours after surgery without evidence of cardiogenic pulmonary edema or sepsis, the etiology is believed to be fat embolism. Although liposuction is generally an effective and safe procedure, awareness of this life-threatening complication is important in order to institute prompt and appropriate treatment. Fat embolism must be differentiated from thromboembolism, as the treatment is different, and heparin is not indicated. It is recommended that training standards and guidelines be devised in order to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with this procedure.

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