What is Liposuction?
Liposuction (or lipoplasty) is a technique in which excess fatty tissue is suctioned from beneath the skin. Prior to surgery, doctors flush the targeted area or areas with a solution composed of lidocaine (a local anesthetic similar in its numbing effects to novocaine), saline, and epinephrine (a drug that constricts blood vessels and thus reduces bleeding during surgery).
Then doctors insert a hollow wand-like device called a cannula through incisions in the skin. They push and pull the cannula around through fatty deposits, breaking up the cells, which, along with other body fluids, are suctioned out by an attached vacuuming device. There are several liposuction techniques available today. The amount of injected fluid determines the technique used.
In the “dry” liposuction technique, which few doctors use anymore, no fluid is injected into the targeted area.
For “wet” liposuction, the surgeon injects only a small amount of fluid, about six to eight ounces and usually containing small amounts of ephinephrine, regardless of how much tissue is subsequently removed.
In the “tumescent” liposuction technique, doctors inject up to five times as much fluid as aspirate. Because the injected fluid also contains large amounts of lidocaine, tumescent liposuction is generally performed with only a local anesthetic. Many doctors are offering a modified version of the procedure that calls for using ultrasound in addition to the injected solution and the suctioning.