There are many advantages to the tumescent liposuction technique compared with traditional liposuction using general anaesthesia. The tumescent technique is the gold standard in liposuction now, and you should know which technique your surgeon intends to use before you consent to the procedure.
Tumescent liposuction does not use general anaesthesia, whereas traditional liposuction does. Anaesthesia is inherently risky, since you are putting the body into a state that is very near to death. Tumescent liposuction requires the special tumescent fluid, which contains anaesthetic and acts as a local anaesthetic. One benefit of the patient remaining awake is they can move as required by the surgeon, to access various areas of the body.
The tumescent fluid also causes vasoconstriction, so blood loss is a much smaller risk than traditional liposuction, where serious blood loss is a risk.
Risk of death
There have been no reported deaths from the tumescent liposuction technique, whereas the death rate from traditional liposuction is one in every 5,000.
Bruising with the tumescent technique lasts one to two weeks, whereas due to the extra bleeding involved in traditional liposuction, bruising can last three to six weeks. (Bruising is leaked blood that is then reabsorbed by the body.)
Pain and soreness
The tumescent fluid containing anaesthetic remains in the area for up to a day after surgery, meaning post-operative pain and soreness is reduced. Traditional liposuction relies on the general anaesthetic for pain relief, so as soon as this wears off, there may be quite a lot of pain.
Dressings and garments post-procedure
Dressings and support garments may be worn for several weeks, whereas in traditional liposuction, support garments may be required for up to six weeks. This will depend on the area treated.
Return to work
The tumescent technique means returning to work one or two days after the procedure; traditional liposuction requires up to two weeks off work.
The tumescent technique offers some protection from infection due to the tumescent fluid containing a bacteriostatic – this means bacterial reproduction is impaired, reducing infections.
The one disadvantage of the tumescent technique is that it takes longer to remove fat than traditional liposuction.
The tumescent technique provides smoother results, because the tumescent fluid plumps up and firms the tissue so the surgeon can see what needs to go and what should stay. In traditional liposuction techniques, dimples may appear if fat is removed too close to the skin, and a second procedure may be required to remove bumps.