The Tumescent Technique
The tumescent technique is among the most commonly used methods of liposuction. It is based on the injection of a specially prepared solution into the treatment site to make the fatty tissue more readily removable. The tumescent technique can be used in concert with other liposuction processes, such as ultrasound-assisted liposuction or laser liposuction, in order to achieve the best contouring results in the gentlest, most efficient manner possible.
In many ways, the tumescent technique has made current methods of liposuction safer than older versions of the procedure. Since anesthetic is integrated into the solution injected, it diminishes the need for the use of general anesthetic, which carries certain health risks. In addition, there is a medication present in the solution being injected that greatly minimizes surgical and post-surgical bleeding.
Benefits of the Tumescent Technique
By incorporating the tumescent technique into a liposuction procedure, the surgeon offers patients a number of distinct advantages. Some of the benefits the tumescent technique provides include:
- Thorough local anesthesia that lasts for hours after the surgery, making post-operative pain minimal
- Decreased loss of blood
- Shortened, comfortable recovery period
- Satisfying outcomes with low risk of skin distortions
How the Tumescent Technique is preformed
The tumescent technique makes use of anesthesia within the fluid that is injected into the patient’s skin, so in many cases, no further anesthetic is necessary. Once the skin is properly prepared, the surgeon will inject the tumescent solution into the areas that will have liposuction. The quantity of solution typically used is greater than the amount of fat scheduled to be removed, and can be as much as three times the volume. That is because the large volume of liquid will, as the name tumescent suggests, cause the treated tissue to swell and become firmer, making it easier to remove.
After the solution has been injected at the treatment site, the surgeon will make a small incision in the skin and insert the cannula. This thin surgical tubing reaches the treated deposits of fat and suctions them out of the body along with any excess fluid. Once the fat cells have successfully been removed from the area, the surgeon will withdraw the instruments. The incision created is generally very small and often does not require any suturing to close properly and heal well.
The solution being injected is made up of a combination of several different fluids. It contains:
- A form of anesthesia, which is often lidocaine, to numb the site and ensure the patient will remain comfortable both during and after the procedure.
- A saline solution makes up much of the quantity of the fluid injected and it is included to assist in the breakdown and removal of the fat cells. The saline is removed by the cannula as it suctions out the fat tissue.
- Another component of the tumescent solution is a type of medication called epinephrine. The epinephrine helps to temporarily shrink the blood vessels present in the treatment area. This can lessen the potential tissue damage, prevent blood loss and decrease the degree of swelling and bruising a patient may experience once the surgery is complete.
Results of the Tumescent Technique
Over the first few days after liposuction using the tumescent technique, there may be some drainage of fluid from the incision. Most patients experience very little bruising. The results are typically quite smooth and well contoured. Since there is generally very little damage to nearby blood vessels or tissues, the recovery period tends to be quick and rather comfortable. Most patients can return to work and many normal activities within two days of liposuction with the tumescent technique.
Risks of the Tumescent Technique
There are risks inherent to any form of liposuction, just as there are with all types of surgical procedures. While uncommon, the complications of liposuction may include infection, bleeding, nerve damage, damage to the skin, adverse reactions to anesthesia and skin irregularities at the treatment site. Choosing a highly trained, experienced surgeon to perform a liposuction procedure can further minimize these risks and increase the likelihood a patient will achieve satisfying, long-term results.