Monday, November 12, 2007

Death of Rapper's Mom Shines Light on Liposuction & Breast Surgery ... Bravo to Dr. Zuckerman for being quoted

Dondawest Cosmetic surgery is so common in this town, you could forget it carries some risks.

Until someone famous dies while having a "procedure". That's what appears to have happened to Donda West, the mother of rap star Kanye West.

According to her publicist, Donda West underwent some kind of cosmetic operation (reportedly liposuction and breast reduction) at a facility in the L.A. area. Something went wrong, and she was taken by paramedics to the ER at Centinela Freeman hospital. Doctors could not revive her, and she was pronounced dead about a half an hour after she arrived.

Now, coroner's investigators will perform an autopsy to determine if she died from "complications of surgery." Donda West was 58 years old.

The fact that people can and do die from cosmetic procedures will shock many folks here. After all, plastic surgeons advertise their services on billboards and in glossy magazines. Sometimes you see them on TV news programs touting their work with "before" and "after" photos. They don't tell you that as with all surgery, there are no guarantees when it comes to safety.

Here's an excerpt from the Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association, March 2005, written by Dr. Diana Zuckerman:

Primary risks (of liposuction) include infection, damage to skin, nerves, or vital organs, fat or blood clots (that can migrate to the lungs, leading to death), and excessive fluid loss that can lead to shock or death. In addition, the different techniques are associated with complications such as skin or deep tissue damage, lidocaine toxicity, and fluid accumulation in the lungs. Despite the documented risks, the general public has an inflated sense of the benefits and a minimized sense of the risks of plastic surgery.