When you have unwanted sections of fat that you can’t get rid of with dieting or exercise alone, you may turn to liposuction for results. With advances in science and technology, more than one kind of lipo is now available. Tumescent liposuction is distinct from the traditional liposuction that is more familiar and in the mainstream — and it may be the procedure you’re looking for to achieve your body image goals.
Contact us today to learn more about tumescent liposuctions in Houston, TX, or schedule a free consultation today.
What is Tumescent Liposuction?
“Tumescent lipo,” as it’s sometimes known casually, is a procedure that removes fat from the body in areas for a more contoured look. First developed by Dr. Jeffrey Klein in 1994, this procedure is considered to provide the benefits of traditional liposuction without the risks. It is not designed as a weight-loss treatment, but rather for body contouring after weight loss has been achieved. Many times, stubborn areas of fat remain even when at the ideal weight; in these cases, liposuction can help get over that final hump to achieve the body look you desire.
Benefits of Tumescent Liposuction Over Traditional Liposuction
While both types of liposuction remove unwanted fat, this newer procedure provides several advantages over traditional liposuction.
In a tumescent liposuction general anesthesia isn’t needed, which can reduce risks generally associated with surgical procedures. Traditional lipo must be performed under general anesthesia, which puts the entire body to sleep. Local anesthesia is used with tumescent liposuction, which controls pain at the targeted site while avoiding risks associated with anesthesia, like nausea and vomiting. Anesthesia also comes with an increased risk for deep vein thrombosis, which can lead to a heart attack, stroke, or embolism in the lungs. Local anesthesia is much safer, and vitals are still monitored for any changes.
Another benefit of tumescent liposuction over traditional is that it can be done as an outpatient procedure. You can be at home resting in just a few hours. The traditional procedure requires an overnight stay in the hospital due to general anesthesia and the need for observation after.
This procedure also uses smaller incisions, which means the doctor has more placement options to get the desired results. With traditional liposuction, larger incisions must be placed strategically to be less noticeable. Tumescent liposuction uses what is known as tiny microcannulas, or thin tubes, which can penetrate one cell as opposed to larger cannulas used in traditional lipo. The incision is just about 1.5 to 2 mm, which will fade to near invisibility quickly.
The smaller incision also means less bleeding and reduced swelling and bruising, compared to traditional liposuction. This is due both to the fact that the procedure uses smaller incisions as well as the use of an injection at the start of the procedure, containing lidocaine and epinephrine. Lidocaine dulls pain while epinephrine causes blood vessels to constrict, limiting blood loss. Saline solution is also part of the injection, which helps to swell up the fat tissue.
With the tumescent liposuction procedure, the incisions are open to promote drainage. This results in fewer side effects and faster recovery times. Traditional lipo requires the incisions to be closed and sutured, which can increase the risk for infection.
Tumescent liposuction often provides better results than the traditional method for the patient. The injection used causes the layer of subcutaneous tissue to swell up and become firmer. The surgeon has improved control over this firmer tissue to remove fat and reshape the curves of the area.
This type of lipo is less likely to result in skin irregularities with smaller incisions. Since the technique provides for more accurate fat removal, the cannula is less likely to be placed too near the skin’s undersurface.
The entire procedure lasts three to four hours, which is slightly more involved than traditional liposuction (two to three hours). This includes 90 minutes following injection, waiting for it to fully penetrate the fat tissue; followed by a one to two hours procedure removing fat through a microcannula. Many find that the time difference doesn’t outweigh all the other benefits of tumescent liposuction over traditional.
Where is Tumescent Liposuction Performed?
This technique for fat removal is often used on larger areas of the body, such as the thighs and stomach. It is also useful for areas around the chin and neck as well as the arms. Tumescent liposuction may also be used for breast reduction in men and women as a minimally invasive method of removing fatty tissue in the chest.
This procedure may be recommended for anyone who has areas of fat even though they have dieted or maintained a regular exercise regimen. It isn’t a substitute for weight loss because the actual change in weight is minimal.
Recovery Time for Tumescent Liposuction vs. Traditional Liposuction
Recovery time for tumescent lipo is shorter for several reasons. First, a local anesthetic usually has fewer side effects and a lower risk of complications than with general anesthesia. The open incisions, which allow better drainage, also promote faster healing. Compression is also worn for a shorter time, usually less than one week. Most patients are able to return to light activity within one or two days.
Results will be seen from this procedure in about six to 10 weeks. You will notice the difference sooner because of less swelling, but the fat tunnels must still collapse after the fat tissue has been removed. However, the results are permanent as long as you maintain your current weight. New fat can develop but these same fat tunnels won’t refill.
Tumescent Liposuction Cost
While the procedure takes longer than traditional liposuction, the cost is generally much less because there is no general anesthesia and no overnight hospital stay. The exact cost will depend on where you want the procedure performed and how much fat needs to be removed. Any other procedures you want to be done, such as a tummy tuck, must be factored into the cost as well. Once you meet with your doctor and discuss your goals, they can provide an estimated quote for the procedure.
Why Choose Dr. Leo Lapuerta for Liposuction?
Liposuction with Dr. Leo Lapuerta may be the best option for areas of stubborn fat that you can’t diet or exercise away. Dr. Lapuerta has more than 20 years of experience in helping people look their best and regain confidence in their appearance. To learn more about this procedure and find out if it can work for you, schedule a free consultation with Dr. Lapuerta.