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Liposuction is a procedure that can help sculpt the body by removing unwanted fat from specific areas, including the abdomen, hips, buttocks, thighs, knees, upper arms, chin, cheeks and neck. During the past decade, liposuction, which is also known as "lipoplasty" or "suction lipectomy," has benefited from several new refinements. Today, a number of new techniques, including ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL), the tumescent technique, and the super-wet technique, are helping many plastic surgeons to provide selected patients with more precise results and quicker recovery times. Although no type of liposuction is a substitute for dieting and exercise, liposuction can remove stubborn areas of fat that don't respond to traditional weight-loss methods.

The Tumescent Technique

The tumescent technique is a relatively new liposuction method that can reduce post operative bruising, swelling and pain. Because blood loss is minimized during tumescent liposuction, use of the technique reduces the chance that a blood transfusion will be needed. 

Candidates For Tumescents Liposuction

Any person who is a candidate for traditional liposuction is also a good candidate for the tumescent technique. Although the technique can be used on any area of the body, it is commonly used on areas that require enhanced precision, such as the face, neck, arms, calves and ankles.

Individuals who have large areas of excess fat may also be good candidates for tumescent liposuction. 

The Risk

Although the anesthesia requirements are lessened and blood loss is minimized with tumescent liposuction, patients undergoing the procedure still face the same risks and cosmetic complications associated with tradi-tional liposuction surgery.

There are also risks specifically associated with the tumescent technique. These rare complications include pulmonary edema (the collection of fluid in the lungs), which may occur if too much fluid is administered; and lidocaine toxicity, which occurs if the solution's lidocaine content is too high.

You can reduce your risks by choosing a board-certified plastic surgeon who has adequate experience with the technique. 

Anesthesia

For many patients, general anesthesia is the best option. For others, the anesthetic contained in the solution combined with sedation may provide sufficient comfort during the procedure. Or, if your doctor feels it's appropriate, the tumescent solution itself may serve as the sole means of anesthesia. 

The Surgery

In tumescent liposuction, the warmed tumescent liquid -- a dilute solution containing lidocaine, epinephrine and intravenous fluid -- is injected into the area to be treated. As the liquid enters the fat, it becomes swollen, firm and blanched. Liposuction is then performed on the tumesced areas. 

After Surgery

The long-acting effects of the anesthetic solution help to provide pain relief after the procedure and decrease the need for additional pain medication.

For the first day or two after surgery, most patients experience swelling in the treated areas, as well as some fluid drainage from the incision sites.

Light activity is usually resumed within the first few days after tumescent liposuction; normal activity can be resumed within a few weeks.

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