By Our Special Correspondent
SHILLONG: Following the incident of complications of post liposuction surgery which claimed the life of former journalist, artist and designer of Cognet Solutions, Sannjay Sharma, The Shillong Times contacted Dr. Rajmohan Veerabadran, the cosmetic surgeon who conducted the liposuction procedure on him.
Dr. Veerabadran firstly clarified that he had left Shillong on Friday morning and not on Thursday evening as alleged. A week before the surgery he had detailed discussions with the deceased and explained to him the procedure and risks. He said Sannjay was eager to undergo the liposuction and had no second thoughts.
“On being admitted to Nazareth Hospital Sannjay underwent pre-anesthetic tests. His blood pressure was on the higher side; for this he was having irregular medication. He had low thyroid count and his lipid status was not normal. All the above were controlled by medication. It was only after I had got clearance from the anaesthetist that I went ahead with the operation,” Dr. Veerabadran informed, adding that no surgeon can perform any operation without the final go-ahead from anaesthetists.
When asked if Nazareth Hospital had all the facilities for likely complications from liposuction such as cardiac or respiratory complications due to a cardiovascular disease, drug reactions, or human error associated with general anaesthesia, Dr. Veerabadran said he had been doing neck and other reconstructive surgeries at Nazareth hospital for several years without any problems.
To a question as to whether his operating-room assistants are well trained and experienced in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Dr. Veerabadran replied in the affirmative. “At Nazareth Hospital general surgeons are available round the clock hence the allegation of not doing enough to save Sannjay Sharma’s life is incorrect,” the reconstructive surgeon said.
Dr. Veerabadran also informed that the liposuction went off well and that he had himself helped Sannjay Sharma to walk around and even go to the toilet some hours after the procedure. “For over twelve hours Sannjay had no problems. Complications developed only after 8 am on Friday. His blood pressure suddenly dropped, so he was taken to the intensive care unit (ICU),” the doctor informed.
He said Nazareth Hospital has a renowned Intensivist in Dr Himjyoti and he was confident that he would manage the situation.
Once in the ICU, Sannjay’s vital organs began to fail. When asked why this happened Dr. Veerabadran informed that Sannjay’s body was unable to cope with the surgery since his thyroid levels were low and he was on anti-hypertensive drugs. He however said that anti-hypertensive drugs can be taken even on the day of the surgery.
When asked if the liposuction which vacuumed out 8.6 litres of fat in one sitting was not excessive and hence complicated the case, the doctor said, “Anywhere in the world 10 % of body fat can be removed without any problem. Sannjay weighed over 100 kilograms so there is no question of excessive liposuction.”
Expressing his regrets over Sannjay’s death, Dr. Veerabadran said, “Sannjay’s case is so unfortunate and for a doctor losing a patient and a friend is the saddest thing. I have been doing 8-10 liposuctions for the last ten years, day in and day out so I am confident about the procedure. In fact we used the latest tumescent liposuction which is totally by local anaesthesia to improve patient safety,” Rajmohan added.
However, some cosmetic surgeons have a different viewpoint. They say surgeons and anaesthesiologists use the tumescent technique in order to maximize the volume of fat removed during a single surgery. They say liposuction of 5 liters or more of fat in a single liposuction procedure is overly aggressive, and potentially life threatening.
Dr. Veerabadran is Consultant Reconstructive Surgeon at the VK Hospital, Chennai. He graduated from Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sewagram, Wardha, Maharashtra and did a post graduation (MS) in general surgery from the same institution.
He trained in Plastic surgery and did super-specialization Diplomate of National board training under Professor R Venkataswami, Plastic and Hand Surgeon. He also completed his fellowship in Micro-vascular Surgery from Tata Memorial hospital, Mumbai after his Board certification and was trained in Post oncology reconstructions.