There are different liposuction techniques a doctor may choose to administer. One such technique is tumescent liposuction. The main benefit of this type of surgery is that it can be performed under local anesthesia without the need for an IV.
Tumescent literally means “swollen”. When tumescent liposuction is performed, a diluted local anesthetic is injected into subcutaneous fat, making it firm and swollen. A capillary constrictor called Epinephrine is also injected to reduce bleeding. The site of the liposuction becomes numb and eliminates the need for a general anesthetic. Fluid is delivered by subcutaneous injection so an IV is unnecessary. The patient is conscious but comfortable during the procedure.
Once the area is numb, the surgeon makes a series of small incisions and inserts a tiny cannula, or tube, containing a laser. The surgeon moves the cannula back and forth underneath the skin as the laser breaks up the fat cells and contours the body. In some instances, an ultrasound may be used to rupture the fat cells. The goal of both techniques is to cause the fat to drain away. As the fat is extracted by the cannula, narrow tunnels are made underneath the skin. As these empty cavities collapse and the area heals, the area develops a smoother, more contoured shape.
Tumescent liposuction requires a shorter recovery time than conventional liposuction. The Epinephrine injected at the site of surgery constricts blood vessels, resulting in less bruising, bleeding, and swelling. Only local anesthesia is used, thus eliminating the risks associated with general anesthesia.
After surgery, patients will wear a compression garment to reduce fluid build-up and swelling for several weeks. Tumescent liposuction is relatively painless and patients are able to resume activity quickly following surgery – yet another benefit of this technique.