Can it be done safely? Absolutely yes!…Can it be done comfortably? Surprisingly so!!!
Liposuction is a technique that is continually evolving and it has become so much more refined over the years. Smaller suction cannulas (the metal tube inserted under the skin) have been developed and a good understanding now exisits of the pharmacology and solutions that are being used for the local anesthesia. In most cases it goes something like this:
The patient presents with one or two smaller areas that are habitual problems…They just seem to always be trouble spots. On the day of the procedure, the patient is given a pain pill and usually a relaxant, and then positioned on the table. A small amount of local anesthetic is given, a small incision is made, and a solution which contains more local anesthetic, as well as other agents, is slowly and comfortably infused into the tissues, until complete anesthesia is obtained. This is then followed by aspiration with the cannula and removal of the fat…And I have been very surprised just how comfortable patients are, and avoided the need for the added cost and side effects of General Anesthesia!!
So what are the potential problems? It has been my experience that it works great on smaller areas. The reason for this is that the bigger the area, the more local anesthesia is needed and there is a limit as to how much of this can be given to a patient at one time. I have had some patients where we hit the medication limit before finishing Lipo of all the areas and had to return another day. But safety is always the most important factor..
I have also had patients that present with more of a dense type of fat and because of that the local did not diffuse as well into their tissues and either more was needed or, they just became too uncomfortable.
And another word of caution! Because this can be done in a doctor’s office, we are seeing a rise in non-Plastic Surgeons that are starting to add this to their practices, some with little to no training and at times, even with disastrous results! As always, a great place to start your search for a qualified doctor to perform this on you, is with a Surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery.
Overall, I have been very impressed with the technique and in the right patient, can be done safely, comfortably and with great results!!!