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Tumescent Liposuction Surgery – What is the Difference?
The tumescent technique may be the reason liposuction is the number one surgical cosmetic surgery in the United States (according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons).
Before the Tumescent Technique
In liposuction (lipoplasty surgery) before the tumescent technique, larger incisions were made in the fatty areas for insertion of long cannulas (long hollow needle with holes at the end). The cannulas that were inserted through the skin were typically quite large compared to the cannula size options available today. The traditional technique typically required general anesthesia, possibly causing a longer recovery time, and increased risk of blood loss or reaction to anesthesia.
The Tumescent Technique
With tumescent liposuction, one or more small incisions may be made. Because of this, less invasive micro-cannulas can be used. Furthermore, the newer tumescent liposuction technique and the micro-cannulas allow for a more gradual, targeted, and metered treatment, and a more gradual and controlled removal of fat. This enables the surgeon to contour the area more effectively.
Tumescent liposuction provides several advantages over the original liposuction:
•Using local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia eliminates nausea and other general-anesthesia-related side effects.
•The recovery time is shorter.
•There is less blood and fluid loss.
•Use of antibacterial lidocaine may reduce the chance of infection.
•Intravenous fluid replacement is not necessary.
•The swelling or tumescence of the fatty deposits amplifies the targeted areas for liposuction, thus reducing the risk of a secondary procedure.
•The new cannula design with tumescent liposuction reduces bruising and swelling after surgery.
•Smaller incisions result in less scarring.
The Tumescent Liposuction Procedure
Cannulas have now been miniaturized so that they can be inserted through much smaller openings in the skin. A number of small holes may be placed in the skin around the treated area (instead of few larger holes). The cannulas are inserted through these small openings and the fat is removed.
The term "tumescent" means swollen and firm, which is how this technique prepares the fatty tissue for removal. A solution of lidocaine (a local anesthetic) is injected into the fatty area along with a solution to constrict the blood vessels (typically epinephrine). The lidocaine is absorbed by the fatty tissue and causes the tissues to become swollen and firm. A large area of fatty tissue can be numbed using this technique, allowing for a large area of liposuction to be performed while the patient is under local anesthesia.
The epinephrine causes the blood vessels to constrict or shrink in the area of the procedure, which has a number of advantages. The vasoconstriction limits blood loss during the procedure and provides for a longer-lasting numbing effect, because there is less blood flow to carry the lidocaine away from the area of the procedure.
After tumescent liposuction, the area of the liposuction procedure may stay numb for 36 hours without further injection of lidocaine or other pain killers
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