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What is tumescent lipoplasty (liposuction)?

In tumescent liposuction, which is the most common kind of lipoplasty, a fluid composed of anesthetic, epinephrine, and salt water is injected into the part of your body where the operation will occur. The anesthetic (lidocaine) numbs the area while the epinephrine decreases blood loss by making blood vessels constrict. The salt water in the solution makes fat easier for your doctor to remove. Then your doctor makes cuts in your skin through which he inserts the suction tool, a pen-sized tube called a cannula that vacuums excess fat from the area.

Stuart A. Linder, MD
Plastic Surgery
Tumescent liposuctioning is considered at this time the gold standard of body sculpting with liposuction technique. Tumescent liposuctioning uses three components in the liposuction process. The first component is a water-based solution, either sodium chloride or lactated ringer. This is referred to as a wetting solution and is used to hydrate the fat cells which allows a more smooth evening out of suctioning during the lipo process. The second component is epinephrine. Epinephrine is a vasoconstrictive agent which reduces bruising by constricting the blood vessels during the liposculpture process. As a result, there is less bruising, ecchymosis, as well as possible staining of the tissue. The final component is lidocaine. Lidocaine is a local anesthetic. It is a numbing agent which could reduce pain postoperatively for up to 24 hours. The tumescent fluid is infiltrated with a special needle referred to as a Klein needle. The fluid is injected into localized deep fat area. A specific period of time, up to 30 minutes, may be used to wait to allow the agents to take their effect and then the liposculpturing is done. Once again, tumescent liposuction is this gold standard that we perform every week for our liposuction patients.

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What Should I Know If I'm Considering Liposuction?
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.