With any form of cosmetic procedure like liposuction, the nature of the anaesthesia used is an important and serious matter.
There are many different types of anaesthetic used by medical practitioners; from general anaesthetic that completely puts the patient to sleep, to local anaesthetic and tumescent anaesthetic which is used to numb large areas of the body.
When performing liposuction, we use tumescent anaesthetic – a particular way of administering local anaesthetic that suits patient needs, recovery, and is ideal for the liposuction procedure. To understand where we’re at with anaesthetic for laser liposuction today, it’s helpful to take a look back at how it was done in the past.
During the 1970s it was thought the “dry technique” was best, where a small volume of undiluted anaesthetic was administered. Dr Fournier, a forerunner of modern liposuction, believed it enabled precise and accurate fat removal. However, this did nothing to stem excess bleeding caused by liposuction.
By the late 1980s, surgeons began to use large volumes of diluted anaesthesia for liposuction treatment areas. This now forms the basis of tumescent based liposuction.
So, what is tumescent anaesthetic and how do we use it?
In our clinic, liposuction is performed under tumescent anaesthetic (ie: local anaesthetic), a technique that provides anaesthesia to limited areas of skin and tissue. What is it? Large volumes of fluid are administered to the patient’s subcutaneous fat (the fat that lies just beneath the skin), containing an appropriate dosage of general anaesthetic, diluted with saline and adrenaline. The lignocaine medication in the tumescent anaesthetic anaesthetises the area so it is numb. The adrenaline within the anaesthetic causes the blood vessels to constrict, greatly reducing bleeding during and after surgery. Tumescent anaesthetic also helps disperse the fat, making it easier to remove via a cannula.
A key benefit to tumescent anaesthetic is that it allows the liposuctionist to treat areas of concern without the absolute need for general anaesthetic.
Click here to learn more about tumescent liposuction.
Tumescent anaesthesia carries risks that will be discussed at your initial consultation. The main risk is an allergic or anaphylactic reaction to the lignocaine. This is rare but it is important that liposuction is carried out in an accredited or licenced facility to be able to deal with such a complication. Another potential risk is lignocaine toxicity which basically means that there is too much anaesthetic in your system. This is a real risk and can be reduced by ensuring that the amount of anaesthetic used is kept to a minimum. The best way to do this is to minimise the areas that you can treat in each visit, so that you are not using too much anaesthetic.
If you are considering liposuction, it is important to be aware that our clinic is fully accredited and licenced with Victoria Health, adhering to the same standards as a private hospital. Our dedicated team offers all pre-operative consultations, procedures, and recovery options.