What Is Tumescent Lipo?
Liposuction is one of the most widely performed cosmetic/aesthetic procedures today. Tumescent liposuction should not be confused with traditional liposuction or smart liposuction, which is laser-assisted. Tumescent lipo incorporates the injection of large volumes of diluted lidocaine and epinephrine into unwanted/obstinate fat deposits below the skin. After the injection of anywhere from 1 to 4 liters of the lidocaine/epinephrine solution, the targeted area of fat becomes “tumescent,” meaning swollen and firm. At this time, your physician is free to perform the body contouring portion of this innovative procedure.
What Are the Benefits of Tumescent Lipo?
Tumescent liposuction has many benefits over traditional and other forms of liposuction. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia, which eliminates the need for intravenous sedatives and/or general anesthesia as well as their side effects such as drowsiness, confusion, nausea, and vomiting. The actions of epinephrine, or adrenaline, cause the constriction of blood vessels in the targeted area. As a result, there is minimal blood loss with tumescent liposuction—no more than 1 to 2 teaspoons, which is no more than a blood draw at your physician’s office. In addition, there is minimal bruising, which is mostly attributable to the exceedingly low blood loss that leaves no blood beneath the skin to cause bruising. Lidocaine, a local anesthetic, provides pain relief for up to 24 hours after the procedure, which vastly decreases your need for narcotic pain medications. The incisions for tumescent lipo are tiny, as small as 1.5 mm, and require no stitches, so you don’t have to worry about skin scars.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Tumescent Lipo?
Tumescent liposuction is ideal for individuals with discrete deposits of fat that are resistant to diet and exercise. These deposits may be in areas of the body such as the upper/lower abdomen, arms, back, neck, chest, flanks, hips, inner/outer thighs, inner knees, ankles, and calves. Additionally, the ideal candidate is without significant medical problems, has realistic expectations, and is not overtly obese—no more than 10 to 20 pounds overweight. Remember, tumescent lipo is not for weight loss!
What Can a Patient Expect During the Tumescent Lipo Procedure?
After the solution is injected, your physician will make a series of very small incisions and insert a small, skinny tube called a cannula to suck out the unwanted fat into a sterile collection system. This is accomplished by using slow, gentle back and forth movements of the cannula. Afterwards, an elastic compression bandage/garment is worn for several days to help the skin contract and heal. Any residual solution will drain from the incisions over the next several days. In total, tumescent liposuction takes 3 to 4 hours to complete and can remove from 3 to 5 liters of fat. If more fat removal is desired, the procedure may be repeated in a few weeks. You can usually return to work in 1 to 3 days and resume exercise 1 week after the procedure. Complications are rare and typically minor with tumescent lipo. You may see improvement in 1 to 2 weeks, but keep in mind you will continue to see improvement with optimal results taking 4 to 6 months. Overall, tumescent liposuction is a safe and effective body sculpting technique.
*individual results may vary