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Fat attacks!: a case of fat embolisation syndrome postliposuction


Liposuction is a procedure commonly performed in the UK usually with a low incidence of serious sequelae; however with larger patients and increased volumes of lipoaspirate, complications have been reported more frequently. One of the rare but very serious complications postliposuction is fat embolism syndrome (FES), a life-threatening condition difficult to diagnose and limited in treatment.

The authors present the case of a 45-year-old woman who was admitted to the intensive care unit postelective liposuction for bilateral leg lipoedema. She presented with the triad of respiratory failure, cerebral dysfunction and petechial rash requiring a brief period of organ support. This case highlights that with the recent increase in liposuction procedures worldwide, FES is a differential to always consider. Although still a rare condition this article emphasises the importance of thinking outside the box and how to identify and manage such a life-threatening complication.

  • Intensive Care
  • Plastic And Reconstructive Surgery

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