BMJ Case Reports 2017; doi:10.1136/bcr-2017-219835

Liposuction-induced fat embolism syndrome

  1. Elizabeth N Pavlisko
  1. Department of Pathology, Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Colby A Cantu, colby.cantu{at}
  • Accepted 24 March 2017
  • Published 18 April 2017


Three days after undergoing an elective liposuction procedure, a 60-year-old woman presented to her local emergency department with shortness of breath and lethargy.

Physical examination was remarkable for abdominal distention, bilateral lower extremity swelling and hypoxaemia. Bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) trial was initiated but it was unable to sustain adequate oxygen saturation; consequently, the patient was intubated and mechanically ventilated. Pulmonary thromboembolism was suspected, but a chest CT scan was contraindicated due to acutely poor kidney function. Therefore, …

Register for free content

The full text of all Editor's Choice articles and summaries of every article are free without registration

The full text of Images in ... articles are free to registered users

Only fellows can access the full text of case reports (apart from Editor's Choice) - become a fellow today, or encourage your institution to, so that together we can grow and develop this resource

Don't forget to sign up for content alerts so you keep up to date with all the case reports as they are published, and let us know what you think by commenting on the Editor's blog

Navigate This Article