Tumescent Lipo has been around for a while, having first been developed in 1985. It has the longest track record in the industry and as such, is the most commonly sought after liposuction procedure today. Finding the right surgeon to perform tumescent liposuction is the first step in the process toward having a leaner, more sculpted physical appearance.
How Does Tumescent Lipo Work?
The initial consultation is an opportunity for you to ask questions and develop an opinion about whether a particular surgeon will be able to work with you. During an initial consultation, you have the chance to learn more about tumescent lipo and discuss your goals and expectations with your surgeon. The cost of tumescent lipo will also be discussed during this initial meeting as well as financing options to help make the procedure more affordable for you.
After you have settled on a particular doctor, you will need to set a date for tumescent lipo surgery. Though the surgery is generally recognized as a “safe” procedure with few risks involved, patients will still need to sign paperwork and consent forms acknowledging that they have been informed of risks and side effects such as swelling, bruising, or even sometimes burns on the skin.
Your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes before scheduling your surgery. You may need to quit smoking or take up a regular exercise program to decrease the chances of complications following surgery before the actual appointment for the procedure can be made. If you are on certain chronic medications, these may have to be discontinued for a few weeks prior to surgery. Scheduling the date may be contingent on how long it takes for your body to be completely free of these medications. Antibiotics, multivitamins, and anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed to be taken for a week or two before your scheduled tumescent lipo surgery.
On the day of surgery, your doctor will perform a physical exam to make sure that you are healthy enough to withstand tumescent lipo. If you have an illness involving a fever, your tumescent lipo surgery may need to be postponed. Photos of the target area “before” the procedure will be taken to document the patient’s appearance before the lipo procedure. Doctor and patient do one final consultation to make sure goals and expectations are in sync and patient is then prepped for surgery.
While nurses are prepping you for surgery, the surgical room and table is also set up for the tumescent lipo procedure. Patients may be given an antibiotic to ward off infection and a sedative if they are feeling anxious about the procedure. The target area is then disinfected and prepared for surgery with a numbing agent. The patient may be hooked up to an I.V. as well as monitors to record vital signs during surgery.
Once the patient is in the surgical room and the numbing agent has taken effect, a mixture of fluids including lidocaine and epinephrine is injected into the target area. Lidocaine numbs the tissues while epinephrine causes the blood vessels to shrink thereby reducing bleeding and bruising. Other fluids are slowly absorbed by target fat tissues, causing them to swell or “tumesce”. Once the fatty tissues have properly tumesced, the surgeon is ready to make incisions and remove the tissue with a cannula.
A series of small incisions measuring about one-third of an inch are made in the target area. The hollow tube known as the cannula is inserted through these incisions to vacuum out fat deposits in the area. The tumesced fat is easier to remove because it is firm and swollen, leading to more desirable aesthetic results. As fluids are drained from the target area, more fluids are pumped in. The fluids help to prevent tissue damage and blood loss during the procedure.
Patients rarely feel pain during tumescent lipo, however, they do report feeling pressure in the region being treated. Any pain reported by a patient can be treated using an additional dose of lidocaine to the target area. After the cannula has removed the patient’s fat cells from the target area, the surgeon closes up the incisions. Once the incisions have been sealed, the procedure is over the patient is wheeled out of the surgical room into recovery. Often, patients will be able to leave the facility on the same day as their tumescent lipo procedure.
Because tumescent lipo can be performed under local anesthesia, it is often not necessary for patients to spend the night in the hospital, reducing the cost of the procedure. There are few side effects associated with lipo including minor pain, bruising, and swelling. Nausea, vomiting, and dizziness may sometimes also occur following tumescent lipo, but they are less common. Most side effects can be counteracted with over-the-counter medications.
Recovery from tumescent lipo usually takes about two weeks. Most patients, however, are able to return to work within a few days. During follow-up visits, your surgeon will advise you on when to resume your normal exercise routine and activities.
Types of Tumescent Lipo
There is really only one type of tumescent lipo, however, sometimes additional technologies are utilized in conjunction with tumescent lipo to achieve smoother, more aesthetically pleasing results. Tumescent lipo is considered by many surgeons to be the safest and most effective type of liposuction surgery. The procedure involves the injection of fluids that cause fat tissues to swell and blood vessels to shrink. Once the fat tissue has absorbed the fluids, it is easier to remove it from the body using a tool called a cannula that is attached to a vacuum-like machine called an aspirator.
Advantages of Tumescent Lipo
There are a number of advantages to having tumescent lipo over other types of lipo surgery. Traditional liposuction required the use of much larger incisions than what is needed for tumescent lipo procedures. Fatty deposits are much more easily accessed using tumescent lipo than they were using traditional fat removal methods. Only one or two tiny incisions are required for tumescent lipo and surgeons have more control over the final results than they did using traditional liposuction procedures.
Local anesthesia is all that is required for tumescent lipo surgery, making the procedure much less risky than those requiring general anesthesia that would put patients to sleep. The use of local anesthetic like lidocaine rather than using general anesthesia makes it possible for most patients to have liposuction done as an outpatient procedure. This not only lowers the cost of tumescent lipo, but also contributes to a shorter recovery period. Tumescent lipo also requires less equipment than other types of liposuction, which also contributes to the lower overall cost for the procedure.
Finally, tumescent lipo has been around a long time, which means that the procedure is well-understood and researched and patients can expect few surprises. Side effects and complications are rare and usually minor.
Risks of Tumescent Lipo
Risks and side effects from tumescent lipo are few including cosmetic issues such as lumpiness, scarring, bruising, or dimpling of the skin. Scarring and bruising are relatively common. The appearance of saggy skin can also occur if too much fat is removed at one time.
Lidocaine toxicity is another risk factor associated with tumescent lipo that should be taken into serious consideration prior to the procedure. Sometimes too much lidocaine injected into the body can lead to toxicity which can ultimately cause fluid buildup in the lungs.
Choosing an experienced and skilled surgeon can significantly diminish the risks and the probability that side effects will occur as a result of tumescent lipo. Rather than going with the cheapest surgeon or the surgeon who closest to you geographically, seek out a surgeon with a high level of skill so that you can experience the best results from your tumescent lipo surgery.