Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Medical Reports: Burn Concerns
For many people, their New Year's resolution is to lose weight. So some turn to cosmetic procedures to shed those pounds. One procedure promises to slim your body with a laser and claims to be less invasive than traditional liposuction, but as 7s Lynn Martinez shows us, it's leaving some patients with Burn Concerns.
WSVN -- Sara Schwersky hates going through her closet.
Sara Schwersky: "Clothes that I wish I could wear."
The 24-year-old doesn't like the way clothes fit her body.
Sara Schwersky: "The little belly bulge that hangs over the pants, just get into that smaller size, you know."
So, when she heard about a popular laser procedure promoted as a less invasive form of liposuction, she jumped at the chance.
Sara Schwersky: "Less downtime, like you don't have to go under general anesthesia. It's local, so you're awake, and it's supposed to heal faster."
Sara was so excited about her future figure, she counted down the days to her procedure.
Sara Schwersky: "It was like, like my wedding day. I was totally stoked for it."
But just weeks after the surgery, she became very sick.
Sara Schwersky: "I couldn't eat. I could barely sleep. I couldn't drive anymore because it hurt so bad."
Sara had a serious infection and had to be rushed to the emergency room. She wound up in the hospital for 19 days.
Sara Schwersky: "I couldn't do anything. I was like a prisoner in a bed."
This is what Sara was left with: painful burns all over her stomach that needed to be drained, leaving her with large wounds. Dr. Blaine Shatkin, director of the wound healing center at Memorial Hospital Pembroke, has concerns about complications from this less-invasive lipo.
Dr. Blaine Shatkin: "It looks like minor burns and areas where the fat doesn't get absorbed into the body."
This woman, who did not want to be identified, had her laser procedure in Colombia. Now she is left with painful wounds that also need to be drained.
Dr. Blaine Shatkin: "Some of it could be the laser burned the under surface of her skin."
Dr. Shatkin says the laser heats up and liquefies fat, and that can cause a big problem.
Dr. Blaine Shatkin: "The fat dies. It doesn't have good blood supply, and then it can subsequently get infected."
He says he's never seen results like this with traditional liposuction.
Dr. Blaine Shatkin: "In 17 years of doing liposuction, I've never lost skin or had fluid collections where I had to drain anybody."
Almost six months after her procedure, Sara is still recovering both physically and emotionally.
Sara Schwersky: "Words couldn't describe how painful things were."
She has to treat her wounds everyday and will be left with permanent scars. The hardest part for Sara? She spent thousands of dollars to look better but feels she now looks worse.
Sara Schwersky: "I have scars everywhere. I have big wounds, holes on my stomach. It's just bad."
Leaving Sara a lifetime of healing and a warning to others about Burn Concerns.
Lynn Martinez: "Dr. Shatkin says, if you're planning on trying the laser procedure to melt away fat, do your homework, make sure the doctor is board certified by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Blane Shatkin
Center for Wound Healing at Memorial Hospital Pembroke
Tel: (954) 963-8014