Many people aren’t bothered by one particular area of their body, but rather wish that they could trim a little here and there to create an overall slimmer and shapelier physique. Fortunately, one such cosmetic surgery can do just that! Liposuction is a surgical procedure that has become very popular across the United States for providing safe and effective results that can be tailored to each unique patient. There are many different types of liposuction that pop up in the media, including everything from tumescent to ultrasound to laser-assisted. This post will speak briefly about the general process of liposuction as well as dispel some myths about one form of liposuction called “awake” or “no downtime” liposuction that patients may come across in their research.
Liposuction typically consists of two steps. The first step is breaking up the fat to prepare it to be suctioned. This can be accomplished with a chemical solution or another form of energy such as laser or ultrasound. Dr. Traci Temmen utilizes a method called tumescent liposuction where a fluid consisting of a saline solution, a local anesthetic, and a drug that constricts blood vessels is injected into the patient’s tissues. This helps to break up the fat and separate it from the surrounding tissues for later suction as well as reduce pain and bleeding. Liposuction is then performed where a hollow tube called a cannula that is attached to suction is gently maneuvered to loosen and remove the targeted fat deposits. Once the fat has been removed, Dr. Temmen takes care to equally redistribute the thin layer of remaining fat in order to ensure a smooth, natural-looking result. Dr. Temmen’s patients are consistently impressed with their new slim and sculpted physiques after liposuction, and thrilled that it was all accomplished through incisions that are only a quarter to half of an inch long!
Patients exploring different modes of liposuction may come across options that sound very appealing such as “awake” or “no downtime” liposuction. These are often advertised as having less risk due to being done under local anesthesia instead of general, being “less invasive”, and promising a shorter, more comfortable recovery period. Unfortunately, this marketing can sometimes be too good to be true. The way that this type of liposuction is performed is by injecting very large amounts of local anesthetic (lidocaine). This is what allows the patient to stay awake during the procedure but feel minimal discomfort. Unfortunately, high levels of local anesthetic can be toxic to the body. Therefore, this method generally only makes sense when performed on a very small targeted area of the body where not much lidocaine would be needed. However, the vast majority of patients desire a large area of their body (such as the abdomen, back, and sides) to be targeted in order to achieve an all-over slimming effect and sculpt the body into an attractive hourglass shape. In order to achieve this kind of result using awake liposuction techniques, such a large volume of local anesthetic would have to injected that it would be toxic to the patient. Therefore, in these cases the surgery must be divided over multiple days. At this point, it really makes more sense to perform liposuction in one sitting under general anesthesia rather than dragging out the procedure over multiple days. Utilizing general anesthesia safely allows the surgeon to create the best aesthetic result without the increased hassle and possible complications of multiple surgeries. Furthermore, because the main difference between these techniques is the amount of local anesthetic used but the surgical methods are the same, the recovery process for awake liposuction is about the same as for other types of liposuction and does not offer any advantage.
Liposuction is a powerful tool for removing stubborn fat deposits and contouring the body into the shape you desire. In the hands of an experienced and highly skilled board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Traci Temmen, this technique is very safe and consistently produces beautiful and natural-looking results. To view real examples of past patient transformations, simply explore the Gallery tab of this website. If you are interested in learning more about if you may be a good candidate for liposuction or another cosmetic surgery procedure, please call 813-877-2277 to schedule your one-on-one consultation with Traci Temmen, MD today!