“Advantages and Benefits of True Tumescent Liposuction” by Dr. Jeffrey Klein
by Dr. Jeffrey Klein
Many people considering liposuction often have questions concerning the difference between liposuction performed under general anesthesia and the tumescent liposuction procedure performed using a local anesthetic. There are actually many benefits to undergoing the true tumescent liposuction procedure.
The tumescent liposuction technique, which uses local anesthesia, rather than general or IV anesthetics, was developed in the 1980s. Before the advent of this technique, liposuction procedures were performed under full general anesthesia. In the beginning, it was thought that this procedure would only be beneficial for patients requiring smaller amounts of fat removal. However, it was later found that this procedure worked successfully on those patients who wanted larger amounts of fat removed. Additionally, it was discovered that the use of local anesthetics significantly reduced post-operative side effects. Currently, tumescent liposuction is becoming increasingly popular as a safer alternative to traditional liposuction techniques.
The true tumescent liposuction technique uses a diluted combination of lidocaine and epinephrine. High volumes of the diluted solution are injected into the subcutaneous fat. The procedure is performed using micro-cannulas, and small incisions that are not closed with sutures. By not suturing the incisions, postoperative drainage is promoted. This in turn, reduces systemic lidocaine absorption, which dramatically reduces inflammation, as well as soreness, tenderness, swelling, and bruising.
Other Benefits of True Tumescent Liposuction
Epinephrine is a hormone and neurotransmitter that shrinks blood vessels and minimizes bleeding. The local anesthetic combination also causes the skin and fat to swell, making it easier to suction out the fat cells.
With traditional liposuction performed under general anesthesia, blood transfusions where required due to the significant amount of blood loss. Tumescent liposuction reduces blood loss, thus making blood transfusions unnecessary.
The use of bacteriostatic lidocaine may also decrease the risk of infections.
Patients undergoing tumescent liposuction using local anesthetics usually experience less pain. Patients undergoing the procedure using general anesthesia often required narcotic painkillers. Patients using local anesthesia usually only require acetaminophen because the local anesthesia lasts for many hours after the procedure.
Skin irregularities including lumps and depressions are a common result of non-tumescent liposuction. With tumescent liposuction using a local anesthetic, these irregularities are uncommon.
Because the patient is awake during the procedure, the physician can actually have the person stand to see if areas were missed. This reduces the need for secondary surgeries to attain full satisfactory results.
No deaths have been reported using the tumescent liposuction technique. However, liposuction performed under general or IV anesthetics run the risk of death due to excessive fat removal, hypothermia, excessive IV fluids, and general anesthesia complications.