All surgery can have complications. As doctors we do everything we can to maximise safety.
Liposuction, like other surgical procedures, is safer when performed without general anaesthetic. Starling et al (Derm Surg vol 38, No 2, part 1, Feb 2012) analysed 10 years of Florida mandatory reporting data and found that being board certified and having accredited facilities did not improve adverse event rate. General anaesthetic was associated with 74% of patients needing transfer to hospital.
In the commentary that follows this article Dr C William Hanke 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.”
Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus are more likely when the patient lies without moving. (General anaesthetic) During conscious sedation you are awake most of the time and may drift off to sleep but even if asleep you will still move your legs. This movement is enough to prevent clots forming.