Tumescent Liposuction and the Facial Application

In the early 1980’s, plastic surgeons began to use the tumescent approach for liposuction of the body. The tumescent technique involves the use of a combination of medications such as lidocaine, saline and epinephrine to assist in the fat removal process. The tumescent liposuction technique proved to be advantageous in numerous ways, including:

  • Longer lasting numbing effect when compared to traditional liposuction.
  • Reduces nausea which is commonly associated with general anesthesia.
  • Reduces recovery time because there is less blood loss, fluid loss, bruising and swelling.
  • Greater precision due the reaction that the medications have on the underlying tissue and fat.

The tumescent approach was originally used for the abdomen, breasts, hips, and thighs. Soon, smaller cannulas (a hollow vacuum like tube inserted under skin to assist in removal)) were developed so that the tumescent technique could be applied to the calf, knees, arms, neck and even, some areas of the face. Smaller cannulas provided for smaller incisions which results in smaller scars.

Then, the tumescent approach was used in face lift procedures to offer similar advantages. The tumescent approach may not be the right approach for all face lift patients. However, the benefits can be substantial when compared to other traditional face lift procedures. During tumescent face lift surgery, patients may receive oral medications to help relax for the procedure. Then, plastic surgeon will inject the tumescent solution into select areas of the face. The tumescent face lift is an outpatient procedure and is not associated excessive discomfort, bleeding, and swelling. The approach also allows for a faster recovery, greater safety and improved cosmetic results when compared to traditional face lift procedures. Many patients return to work within five days following surgery.

General anesthesia is still an alternative to the tumescent face lift approach. General anesthesia may be used for more invasive and time consuming face lift procedures. The mini face lift (thread lift) procedure is the least invasive approaches for a face lift. The mini face lift produces a minimal effect. Thus, the mini face lift is suitable for people in the early stages of aging.

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