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Tumescent Technique (Liposuction Method)

 

What is it?

The tumescent technique is a relatively new liposuction method that can reduce post operative bruising, swelling and pain. Because blood loss is minimized during tumescent liposuction, use of the technique reduces the chance that a blood transfusion will be needed.

In the tumescent technique, areas of excess fat are injected with a large amount of anesthetic liquid before liposuction is per-formed. The liquid causes the compartments of fat to become swollen and firm or "tumesced." The expanded fat compartments allow the liposuction cannula to travel smoothly beneath the skin as the fat is removed.

Any person who is a candidate for traditional liposuction is also a good candidate for the tumescent technique. Although the technique can be used on any area of the body, it is commonly used on areas that require enhanced precision, such as the face, neck, arms, calves and ankles.

Individuals who have large areas of excess fat may also be good candidates for tumescent liposuction.

Some Uncertainty and Risk

Although the anesthesia requirements are lessened and blood loss is minimized with tumescent liposuction, patients undergoing the procedure still face the same risks and cosmetic complications associated with tradi-tional liposuction surgery.

There are also risks specifically associated with the tumescent technique. These rare complications include pulmonary edema (the collection of fluid in the lungs), which may occur if too much fluid is administered; and lidocaine toxicity, which occurs if the solution's lidocaine content is too high.

You can reduce your risks by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who has adequate experience with the technique.

The Surgery

For many patients, general anesthesia is the best option. For others, the anesthetic contained in the solution combined with sedation may provide sufficient comfort during the procedure. Or, if your doctor feels it's appropriate, the tumescent solution itself may serve as the sole means of anesthesia.

In tumescent liposuction, the warmed tumescent liquid -- a dilute solution containing lidocaine, epinephrine and intravenous fluid -- is injected into the area to be treated. As the liquid enters the fat, it becomes swollen, firm and blanched. Liposuction is then performed on the tumesced areas.

After the Surgery

The long-acting effects of the anesthetic solution help to provide pain relief after the procedure and decrease the need for additional pain medication.

For the first day or two after surgery, most patients experience swelling in the treated areas, as well as some fluid drainage from the incision sites.

Light activity is usually resumed within the first few days after tumescent liposuction; normal activity can be resumed within a few weeks.

Your New Look

Patients are usually able to see a noticeable difference almost immediately after surgery. However, more improvement can be seen after three weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided. After about three months, any persistent mild swelling will disappear and the final contour will be visible.

Patients are usually very pleased with the results of the procedure. By eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can help to maintain your slimmer figure or leaner physique.

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