How Is Tumescent Liposuction Different?

Q:  I will be having the liposuction procedure sometime in the next 5-6 months. Please tell me what "tumescent" liposuction is? Has liposuction evolved into a procedure where it can be done without complete anesthesia? If not, why can't the doctor use the same drugs that they use when you are having a colonoscopy? I am concerned about the fact that I am not allowed to have any water after midnight. I take medications that cause severe thirst. At night I have to keep a water bottle next to the bed. I heard that when you have liposuction you can't have water the night before.
 
A:   Yes liposuction has evolved into a procedure that can be done without complete (general) anesthesia. In the mid 1980s, a dermatologist named Jeffrey Kline developed the procedure that we refer to as “tumescent” liposuction. It means using a large volume of very dilute anesthesia to numb the areas that are going to be treated. It is very safe and allows the patients to be awake during the procedure. In reality – even if the physician is going to put you under general anesthesia, they should still use tumescent liposuction as it drastically improves the outcome and the safety of the procedure.
 
I do not put my patients to sleep for liposuction. I use moderate sedation – so that you are breathing on your own and are able to communicate with me during your procedure.  Because of this, you can eat and drink normally before the procedure. We recommend that you DO drink water the evening before and the morning of your procedure. In addition, we recommend a light breakfast. We want our patients to be hydrated. Since we are not intubating you, there is no worry about food or liquid aspiration.
 
However, if you have liposuction done under “complete” anesthesia, you would need to be intubated and would have to refrain from drinking any water starting the night before.
 
As far as the medications that are used for a colonoscopy – we use similar ones, but not the exact same ones. The reason is that they usually use versed – which doesn’t last long enough to keep you sedated for the whole procedure. I use a combination of demerol and valium for most patients. It works great and patients tolerate the procedure very well.
 
My liposuction consultations are free, I would be happy to see you and answer any additional questions you have.  Please call 206-859-5777.
 
Thanks again.
 
Dr Jennifer Reichel

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