Is Tumescent Liposuction Right For Me?
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Is Tumescent Liposuction Right For Me?
Liposuction is one of the most common plastic surgery procedures being performed today – more than 235,000 procedures were performed in 2016 in the US alone.
Liposuction, or “lipo” as many patients refer to it, uses special surgical equipment to remove excess body fat by suction. Lipo slims and reshapes specific body areas and improves body contours and proportion. The liposuction procedure helps remove fat deposits that don’t seem to change with diet and exercise.
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The areas of the body that liposuction can treat include:
- Abdomen and waist
- Hips and buttocks
- Inner Knee
- Calves and ankles
- Cheeks, chin and neck
Liposuction procedures can be performed using either local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Today, we will focus on the use of local anesthesia.
Local (Tumescent) Liposuction
Tumescent liposuction is one of the most popular forms of liposuction because it is typically very effective, less painful and has a quicker recovery time. Also, it is performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require general anesthesia.
The tumescent technique involves injecting a large amount of a solution containing a local anesthetic (lidocaine), a drug that contracts the blood vessels (epinephrine), and an intravenous salt solution into subcutaneous fat. The lidocaine helps to numb the area before and after the procedure. Epinephrine aids in blood loss reduction, bruising and swelling during and post-procedure. The IV solution helps to remove the fat more easily. The medicated solution is injected into the targeted areas of the excessive fatty deposits and causes them to become swollen and firm (the meaning of ‘tumescent’).
After the local anesthesia is injected, the surgeon will make a small incision in the skin. A cannula – a small, thin tube connected to a vacuum-like machine – is then inserted into the fatty layer. The fat is sucked through the tube using back and forth movements and deposited into a sterile collection system.
Benefits of Tumescent Liposuction
- Reduced pain, bruising and swelling post-procedure
- Patient can avoid the side effects of general anesthesia and IV sedatives
- Reduced blood loss during procedure
- Patient can be moved to best accommodate the surgeon
Things to Consider
To prepare for a local liposuction procedure, your first step is to have a consultation with your plastic surgeon. This will give you the opportunity to discuss your desired cosmetic goals and to determine if tumescent liposuction is the best approach. Your surgeon will provide you with pre-operative instructions that may vary by individual, but a few standard instructions will include:
- Stop smoking at least two weeks before surgery
- On the day of surgery, do not shave near the areas to be contoured (to avoid ingrown hairs)
- Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before your procedure
- Wear loose fitting clothes that can be easily removed over your head
When the surgery is complete, an elastic compression garment may need to be worn to help the skin contract and heal – your surgeon will determine if this will be necessary for you. Immediately after the procedure, walking is encouraged to enhance healing and most patients are alert and able to function. Recovery time may vary based on each individual, but typically, the local anesthetic that is injected into the fatty tissue will last about 24 hours following the procedure. Once this wears off, discomfort is usually managed by most patients with an over-the-counter pain reliever. Most of the swelling will go down after a few days and you will begin to see improvement in one to two weeks. It will usually take three to four months to see the procedure’s full benefit.
If you are interested in learning more about the tumescent liposuction technique and to see if you are a candidate for the procedure, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of the top plastic surgeons in the Denver area. Call 303.680.8989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org today.