Important: We use local anaesthetic NOT general.

Below are the outlined risks of GENERAL ANAESTHETIC directly obtained from
Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (

All surgery can have complications and, as medical practitioners, we do everything we can to maximise safety. The procedure of fat harvesting is a mini liposuction and it is safer when performed without GA.

Starling et al (Dermal Surgery 2012, Vol 38, No 2) analysed 10 years of Florida mandatory reporting data and found that being board certified and having accredited facilities did not improve adverse event rate. GA cases were associated with 74% of patients needing transfer to hospital. In the commentary that follows this article Dr Hanker states:

“Keep the patient awake! If a procedure can be performed safely and effectively using local anaesthetic, risk is minimised, and patient safety is served.”


General Anaesthesia (GA):

GA involves the patient being put into a medication-induced state which, when deep enough, means that the patient will not respond to pain and includes changes in breathing and circulation. Under general anaesthetic, a patient is in a state of controlled unconsciousness.

What are the risks of anaesthesia?

Risks and side effects include nausea and vomiting, physical injuries, reactions to drugs, awareness and even death.

Physical injuries

Damage to teeth occurs in less than 1 in 100 general anaesthetic cases. This usually occurs during a process known as laryngoscopy (inserting an instrument into the mouth), when a breathing tube is inserted through the vocal cords in your airway while you are asleep or if a plastic sucker has to be used to clear fluid in your mouth.

Sore throat

Sore throat may occur in up to 45% of patients having anaesthesia requiring a breathing tube known as an endotracheal tube, and in 20% of patients when a laryngeal mask, which is a mask and tube that is inserted into the back of the throat, is used

Nerve injuries

Nerve injury (damage to nerve fibres) following nerve blocks (regional anaesthesia) occur in approximately 1 in 500 cases.


All complications are unfortunate and this complication is extremely rare, occurring in approximately one in 1,250,000 anaesthetics. Patients who are at a higher risk of blindness include smokers and those with high blood pressure or diabetes.


Death related to anaesthesia is extremely rare. Type of surgery (in particular if the surgery is an emergency such as for major trauma), underlying medical condition, physical status, and age all impact on the rate of death. If combined, the incidence of death of patients with all different physical conditions, including those that are not expected to survive with or without the operation, is 1 in 50,000.

Allergic reaction to medications given as part of anaesthesia

The reaction varies from a mild allergic reaction, such as a rash, to a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis, which is a severe life-threatening allergic reaction. The incidence of anaphylaxis reactions to anaesthetic agents in Australia is 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 20,000.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) and Pulmonary Embolus (PE)

Potential risk due to patient lies without moving.