What is Tumescent Anesthesia?
This is the fluid that is injected into the fat to make it numb before the physician suctions out the fat. The solution is composed of 3 main ingredients 1) saline (salt water) – this makes the fat more liquid and easier to suction 2) lidocaine – this temporarily “deadens the nerves” in the fat and skin so the patient will not feel pain during suctioning 3) epinephrine- this constricts (closes down) blood vessels so that minimal blood loss occurs. The tumescent fluid also reduces pain after the procedure because it remains in the body for approximately 18 hours after the liposuction procedure.
Why don’t all doctors use the tumescent technique if it truly is the safest and most precise?
There are several answers to this question. (These answers are generalities and certainly do not apply to every physician who chooses not to use the tumescent technique.)
- Tumescent liposuction takes about twice as long to perform because the physician has to inject the anesthesia slowly so that the patient remains comfortable and pain free. The physician who chooses to use the tumescent liposuction technique sacrifices a little more of his/her time to ensure that patients are having the procedure performed in the safest way possible.
- Many physicians are not comfortable performing a liposuction procedure on an awake patient. Although there are many skilled physicians in the traditional technique, this form of liposuction (and anesthesia) is much newer and usually requires extra training.
How much fat can be removed?
Up to 4.5 liters in one session. This is the same amount as with traditional liposuction.
Who is a good candidate for the procedure?
People who are generally in good shape but just have localized, resistant areas of fat are ideal for this procedure. It is also common to treat over weight patients. Patients just need to have realistic expectations. These expectations are what is discussed in detail during the initial consultation. A thorough medical history is also taken to determine if the patient has any relevant health risks for the tumescent liposuction procedure.
Are there stitches to take out after?
No! The incisions are extremely small–so small that they are left open and close up on their own in 24 to 48 hours. This is truly ideal and promotes a more rapid healing because the open sites are for excess fluid to drain out after the procedure. Tiny absorbent pads are just placed over the holes to combat the fluid as they close following the liposuction procedure.
Will fat come back?
Once taken out, the fat cells do not grow back. A liposuction surgeon never removes all the fat cells, so it is possible for the ones left behind to expand a little if you put on weight after the procedure. You should never go back to the size you were before the procedure, however.
What areas can be treated?
Almost any area on the body where there is fat. The most common areas for liposuction include abdomen, waist, thighs, hips, neck, arms and knees.