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Got a botched liposuction job overseas? Here’s what really happens if you need a correction

July 5, 2020
April 17, 2024

You may personally know or have heard of someone who has gotten cosmetic work done overseas and many horror stories of overseas cosmetic works gone wrong.

Table of Contents

Should You Get Cosmetic Procedures Done Overseas?

Getting cosmetic procedures such as liposuction done overseas isn't a minor decision, and many factors should be considered.

According to Dr Ivan Puah, the benefits of overseas cosmetic procedures include costs, availability of treatments and travel opportunities. He said, "Having cosmetic procedures done abroad allows patients to rest without alerting their family and friends. At the same time, they can also tour around foreign cities while recovering."

"Some doctors may offer treatments and services which may not be available locally," Dr Ivan Puah continues, "and there may also be cost advantages to having certain cosmetic procedures done abroad."

That said, overseas cosmetic procedures are not without potential drawbacks.

Dr Ivan Puah shared that many patients believe that some overseas doctors have skills based on hearsay or advertising campaigns, which may not be accurate.

Another danger of overseas cosmetic procedures is the lack of post-treatment follow-ups since patients don't stay long enough in the host country after the procedure. Dr Ivan Puah said, "Without adequate follow-up, doctors may not be able to pick up complications arising from the treatment and will not be able to address them in time to prevent further deterioration."

According to Dr Ivan Puah, other factors such as communication issues, language barriers, and cultural differences in beauty perception may also cause unnecessary complications or increase the chances of "botched jobs."

What Happens When A Liposuction Procedure Goes Wrong?

Most of the time, you can probably tell if a procedure has gone wrong. Some of the signs of botched liposuction, according to Dr Ivan Puah, include:

  •  Extreme pain and discomfort
  • Overcorrection resulting in uneven contour, e.g. lumps, indentations and dimpling  on the treated area
  • Undercorrection leads to leftover and unsightly fat bulges 
  • Asymmetrical shapes
  • Skin discolouration
  • Excessive scarring and adhesions

Botched liposuction may also lead to patients suffering "various degrees of psychological consequences such as depression, low self-esteem, anger, social phobia, and many others", according to Dr Ivan Puah.

That's why seeking corrective treatment for botched liposuction is very important to avoid these long-term physical and psychological consequences.

Common botched areas

Depending on the extent of the botched lipo results, Corrective Liposuction Revision can bring a myriad of benefits.

"I have been carrying out corrective liposuction surgeries for years. Although they are more challenging and time-consuming to sculpt, patch, fill and mend the damages from prior surgery, it is rewarding when patients experience a positive change and regain their self-confidence when they see the results," shares Dr Ivan Puah, who is also the Chairman of Lipo Peer Review Committee in Singapore.  

His years of experience are evident in the results of his diverse patient portfolio.

Case 1: A female patient who had a botched arm liposuction procedure in Singapore to get rid of her excess arm fat. The picture shows that the arms have unevenness, lumps and irregularities. The patient sought liposuction correction surgery with Dr Ivan Puah.

Case 2: Female patient with dents, uneven skin texture on outer hips, and dimpling and waves on the back thighs. These are caused by uneven suction from a botched liposuction procedure in Singapore.

Case 3: Female patient who had botched liposuction procedure performed on the inner thighs overseas. There are obvious skin irregularities, overly aggressive suction causing rippling and large pigmented scarring, as seen in the picture. The patient sought liposuction correction surgery and fat grafting with Dr Ivan Puah.

Case 4: A female patient who had a botched liposuction procedure performed on the abdomen in Singapore. Unevenness, dents and lumpiness of the abdomen and uneven curve on the left body contour as seen in the picture, who sought liposuction correction surgery with Dr Ivan Puah.

Case 5: Male patient with severe dents on the chest, skin folds and unevenness from botched gynecomastia surgery and high-definition liposuction of the abdomen performed in Australia. He later sought liposuction correction surgery for both conditions with Dr Ivan Puah.

Case 6: A female patient with a botched liposuction procedure performed on the inner and outer thighs in Thailand. As the picture shows, the undercorrection has resulted in "leftover" lumpy and uneven fat bulges on the thighs. The patient seeks liposuction correction surgery with Dr Ivan Puah.

How having botched lipo can cause low self-confidence?

Everyone who opts for liposuction wants to look and feel better after it is completed, so it is understandable how devastating it would feel if the post-surgery results were less than favourable. Patients who ended up with botched liposuction shared that their treated area looked worse than before surgery; they are also self-conscious of others' opinions and attention and tend to hide their post-lipo body in baggy clothes and avoid social gatherings. 

Not only do the patients who went through botched lipo have developed low self-esteem and self-confidence, but they may also be experiencing a sense of distrust in liposuction doctors or in the procedure itself. Self-blame may also occur. Popular questions that patients seeking corrective lipo have asked Dr Puah:

What if the corrective surgery worsens the situation?

Can corrective surgery really rectify the situation?

Will there be side effects, and will my body be able to cope with them?

During your consultation with Dr Puah, spend time asking to clarify all your doubts. "Consultation is the most important part of the patient journey – for many reasons – and I always give my patients the time to get to know what I can do for them and ask as many questions as they need," shares Dr Puah, who understands the trauma patients who have experienced botched body sculpting surgeries go through.

What Are The Available Corrective Options For Botched Liposuctions?

Dr Ivan Puah explains, "Depending on the existing clinical condition of the patient, experienced and skilful doctors who are well versed in carrying out corrective liposuction can correct or improve the asymmetry, irregularities, and fibrotic tissue scarring with appropriate lipo technique, such as Vaser liposuction and autologous fat grafting."

On why Vaser liposuction is a recommended corrective treatment for liposuction complications, Dr Ivan Puah explains, "Vaser liposuction utilises ultrasonic energy to break up scar tissues from previous surgery with more ease and precision. This enables competent doctors to shape and sculpt the body into better condition. Fat grafting may be carried out to smooth out uneven contour, fill and mend the indentations".

On the other hand, non-surgical treatment options may not do much to improve the scarring and asymmetrical tissue contouring due to botched liposuctions.

However, Dr Ivan Puah cautioned that only some of the botched results can be corrected, while more severe complications may, at best, be partially improved.

What Should You Know Before Going For Corrective Procedure For Botched Liposuctions?

Before seeking any corrective treatment, you should understand that the results may not meet your expectations due to the more complicated nature of your prior surgery.

Dr Ivan Puah also advised patients to wait six months after the last botched procedures to allow for complete healing before planning any corrective treatments.

After the liposuction corrective surgery, you will see results gradually as you recover from post-op swelling. It may take a few weeks to months to appreciate the final results, according to Dr Ivan Puah.

Where Should You Go For Corrective Treatment On Botched Liposuctions?

Amaris B Dr Ivan Puah

Dr Ivan Puah particularly stressed the importance of finding experienced and competent doctors when seeking corrective treatment for liposuction. He said, "Correction lipo surgery is more difficult and challenging than regular liposuction treatment, and the outcome will significantly depend on the doctor's skillset and surgical approach."

He also gave some helpful tips on how you can find a reliable clinic and experienced doctor to carry out corrective treatment:

  • Read reviews on the clinics and doctors from previous patients
  • Choose the doctors who have experience treating conditions similar to yours
  • Go for a face-to-face consultation with the doctor
  • Communicate clearly and in detail the issues you are facing
  • Make sure the doctor understands what you are looking for
  • Be realistic with your expectations

In Singapore, liposuction can only be performed by doctors accredited by the Ministry of Health. Dr Ivan Puah at Amaris B. Clinic has more than 15 years of experience in body sculpting and is one of the handful of accredited doctors in Singapore. 

Reference

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