For patients who wish to undergo liposuction to remove stubborn fat deposits, the tumescent technique combines traditional liposuction with a solution that makes the fat easier to remove.
- Removes stubborn fat deposits
- A more advanced liposuction technique
What Is the tumescent technique?
The tumescent technique is a relatively new liposuction method that can reduce postoperative 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 performed. 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.
Am I an ideal candidate for the tumescent technique?
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.
How Is the technique performed?
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.
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.
What steps will I take toward recovery?
The long-acting effects of the anesthetic solution help 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.
Patients can typically resume light activity within the first few days after tumescent liposuction and normal activity within a few weeks.
Patients may see a noticeable difference almost immediately after surgery. However, more improvement can be seen after 3 weeks, when most of the swelling has subsided. After about 3 months, any persistent mild swelling will disappear and the final contour will be visible.
Patients are usually 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.
Although the anesthesia requirements are lessened and blood loss is minimized with tumescent liposuction, patients having the procedure still face the same possible risks and cosmetic complications associated with traditional 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.
Reduce your risks by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who has adequate experience with the technique. To learn more about how the tumescent technique may be applied to your liposuction treatment, we encourage you to contact the plastic surgery team.