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Liposuction is defined as the removal of fat from deposits beneath the skin using a hollow stainless steel tube (called a cannula) with the assistance of a powerful vacuum. Liposuction can be accomplished either with the use of general anesthesia, or with heavy IV sedation, or totally by local anesthesia. This web site considers both the benefits and the potential dangers of local anesthesia and of systemic anesthesia.

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction refers to a technique that uses large volumes of very dilute local anesthesia that is injected into the fat causing the targeted areas to be come tumescent, or swollen and firm. Local anesthesia is widely regarded as the safest form of anesthesia. Because local anesthesia persists for many hours there is no need for narcotic pain medications after surgery.

Modified Tumescent Liposuction

Modified tumescent liposuction refers to a combination of tumescent local anesthesia plus some form of systemic anesthesia (general anesthesia or heavy IV sedation).

Because general anesthesia or heavy IV sedation can be dangerous, they must be administered by an anesthesiologist.

The Different Liposuction Techniques

There are many ways to do liposuction, for example liposuction can be accomplished painlessly either totally by local anesthesia or with general anesthesia. In the realm of liposuction, maximum speed and maximum volume of aspirate are not criteria for excellence. Ultimately, excellence is measured in terms of patient happiness which is a function of safety, patient comfort, finesse, and quality of results. The important distinction between liposuction surgeons who are board certified is the liposuction technique that they use. The surgeon's specialty is not as important as the surgeon's technique, experience and attitude toward safety.

Liposuction Complications

Liposuction complications are often the direct result of lack of caution, poor judgment, over confidence, ignorance about pharmacology, or adherence to faulty dogma. This...