Liposuction as sculpture for body contouring. Tumescent liposuction refers to the special type of local anaesthetic used called tumescent anaesthesia (TMA). Tumescent anesthetic was developed by Dr Jeffrey Klein in 1987 and it revolutionised liposuction.
It has several advantages over liposuction performed under general anaesthetic:
1. increased safety
2. because the patient is awake during the procedure they can be moved into any position required for optimal sculptural results and at the end of the procedure patients can stand so the liposuction surgeon can assess the effects of gravity.
3. tumescent anesthetic contains adrenaline (epinephrine) which constricts the blood vessels in the fat space. This has two benefits: it virtually stops bleeding during the procedure and it delays the adsorption of the local anaesthetic (lignocaine) so there is prolonged anaesthesia which typically persists for upto 12 hours whilst remaining at safe levels in the bloodstream.
4. because we are not in a hurry to get the patient out of a general anaesthetic we can use much finer cannulas to remove the fat. This results in less chance of irregularities and also minimises trauma which leads to a quicker recovery time. Most patients return to work on day 3 and only need to wear post liposuction garments for 3 days.
Because of all these benefits we tend to refer to liposuction performed under tumescent anaesthesa, as liposculpture because the body contour can be sculptured as a work of art.