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Tumescent Laser Liposuction – Less Pain, Quicker Recovery
Most people, no matter how fit and healthy, have areas of extra fat on their body that they don’t like. In men it is the waist area, and in women the belly, hips and thighs. Many of us have often thought that it would be good to have liposuction to remove the excess fat and start over by watching our diet and exercising. However, traditional old-time liposuction is a traumatic surgical procedure that is painful and with a prolonged recovery. Worse, a large percentage of people who have old liposuction end up with lumps, bumps, divots and irregularities on the skin after liposuction.
I have been using tumescent laser liposuction with the new SlimLipo laser liposuction technique for almost a year now and I am amazed at how much better the tumescent laser liposuction technique is than the old time non-laser liposuction method. My patients have smooth tight skin after laser liposuction, and their recovery after laser liposuction is much easier and less painful.
The advantage of the new tumescent laser liposuction technique is that the laser melts the fat before it is removed, making fat removal much easier with laser liposuction. The tumescent technique minimizes bleeding and discomfort. The laser also tightens the skin as the fat is melted. The result is more uniform fat removal, smoother skin, less bleeding and less pain after tumescent laser liposuction.
What Is Tumescent Laser Liposuction?
Tumesca laser liposuction is a new liposuction method that combines the use of a tumesca solution with laser melting of fat before fat removal. A tumescent solution is a liquid that contains an anesthetic or numbing solution and a vasoconstrictor, a medicine that helps control bleeding. The tumescent solution is injected under the skin, into the fat to be removed, before the laser liposuction or laser lip is started.
The tumescent solution numbs the skin area for pain control, which can last up to 24 hours. The solution also prevents bleeding, which reduces post-laser liposuction bruising and swelling, which speeds up recovery.
The tumescent solution is injected under pressure, which swells or spreads the fat and facilitates removal. The dispersion and hydration (adding water to) of the fat also improves the effectiveness and safety of the laser treatment to dissolve the fat.
The advantages of the tumescent laser liposuction technique are
- Excellent pain control
- Less bleeding and bruising
- More effective fat removal
- Less risk of skin irregularities after liposuction
How is the Tumesan Laser Liposuction Treatment Performed?
Tumescent laser liposuction can be performed with you awake or asleep. Many areas can be treated with you awake using only the local anesthesia provided by the tumescent solution. However, the benefits of tumesque are so important that tumesque solution is also used when laser liposuction is performed under general anesthesia, for bleeding control, improved fat removal and for postoperative pain management.
After your skin has been cleaned with sterile anti-bacterial soap, the skin area to be liposuctioned is sterile draped to prevent contamination. Small punctures are made in hidden areas of the skin, and a small needle inserted under the skin into the fat to be removed. The tumescent solution is then injected into the fat under pressure to swell the fat and deliver the anesthetic and vasoconstrictor solution (prevents bleeding).
After a short waiting period until your skin is numb and the tumescent fluid has taken effect, the laser fiber is inserted through the same puncture sites and the fat is melted by the laser. The fat is liquefied into a thin liquid that is much easier to remove than fat that is removed with traditional old liposuction.
After the fat has been liquefied, a small tube called a cannula is inserted and the liquid fat removed by suction. Because the fat has been liquefied, much smaller cannulas can be used than with traditional non-laser liposuction. This fact results in a less traumatic procedure with little hidden scars, very different from old-time liposuction.
The laser also tightens the skin as the fat is released. The laser heats the fibers that connect your skin to your body and shortens these fibers that pull the skin closer to the body. Microscopic studies have shown that many more fibers, called connective tissue, remain after laser liposuction than after non-laser liposuction. I believe this fact helps explain the improved skin tightness and smooth skin after laser liposuction.
How Will I Feel After Surgery?
Because the new technique places a numbing solution in the liposuction area, you will have very little discomfort immediately after and up to 12 hours after your procedure. Plus you’ll be given strong painkillers to manage any discomfort.
The second day you will feel discomfort in the treated areas, however in my experience, the level of discomfort is definitely much less than that experienced with traditional non-laser surgery. By day 3 most patients are very comfortable.
You will wear a supportive compression garment over the treated areas which adds additional support and comfort.
You will be up and around, able to eat, walk, use the bathroom and do normal daily activities the day after your procedure. I recommend that you do not go to the gym or do vigorous physical activity for the first week to ten days because I want the healing process to be painless during this time.
How Long Does Recovery Take?
You will be active and walking from day one. However, I will limit your vigorous exercise and weight lifting or aerobics for ten days.
Your clothing will be changed into a light Spanx-type garment after three to five days. If small sutures are used to close the small puncture sites, they will be removed on the fifth day.
When small areas like the chin or a minor abdominal procedure are done, some people return to work the next day. I don’t recommend returning to work the same day – I want you to be still and rest the first day.
Recovery to a more normal skin appearance may take ten days to two weeks for swelling and bruising, if any, to resolve.
Your skin appearance, skin tightness and result will continue to improve for three to six months as the skin gradually tightens over the areas where fat has been removed. The remarkable thing about this new technique is that the skin is much smoother than after a traditional old suction lipectomy. I believe that the laser dissolution of the fat before removal results in more uniform fat removal.
Which Laser is best?
I use the SlimLipo Aspire system made by Palomar Medical. I chose this laser because the SlimLipo uses the only laser wavelength that is specifically absorbed by fat. The SlimLipo uses 924nm (nm = nanometers, one millionth of a meter and describes the wavelength of the laser color in the visible light spectrum, which for 924nm is yellow, the color of fat) laser length.
The 924nm laser wavelength used in SlimLipo dissolves or releases three to five times more fat during leaving than do the other commonly used wavelengths. The other wavelengths used by different machines target water, not fat, and are less effective and less specific at dissolving fat.
The 924nm SlimLipo also works very well in hydrated fat, which means that fat dissolving with the laser works very well after the tumescent fluid has been injected.
How Do I Find a Surgeon?
I am a board certified plastic surgeon, so I strongly believe that you should have your procedure done by a board certified plastic surgeon. My opinion is that if you are going to do any kind of surgery, you want a board certified surgeon who has been fully trained and is experienced in caring for a surgical patient. You want the security of knowing that if something goes wrong, your doctor will have the skill, experience and training to take care of you.
Many dermatologists perform liposuction. If you want a dermatologist to do your procedure, I recommend that you make sure your dermatologist is board certified and has had a fellowship in dermatologic surgery.
I recommend that you visit the following websites to learn more about liposuction surgery and how to check your doctors training, experience and board certification status:
American Board of Plastic Surgery
American Society of Plastic Surgeons
American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
What Questions Should I Ask the Doctor?
Don’t be intimidated by the white coat and be afraid to ask the doctor important questions. You are an educated consumer, and a good doctor will welcome the fact that you are prepared and have done your reading. I prefer to have patients informed, they always do better after surgery. Plastic surgery is not a place for quick decisions or impulse buying.
In my book Save Your Face, in Chapter ten, I give details on how to choose your doctor and what questions to ask. A brief summary of important questions are:
o Are you certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery?
o How often do you do this procedure?
o Do you think I am a good candidate for this procedure?
o Are you comfortable operating on me with my particular goals?
o Do you foresee a good result – why?
o Can you show me a before and after picture of patients you have operated on?
o Can I speak to a patient who had this operation of yours?
o What are the arrangements for an emergency during nights and weekends – are you available?
o Will my procedure be performed in a licensed operating room or outpatient facility under standard sterile and safety precautions? Are emergency services and monitoring available if needed?
Most importantly, trust your gut during your visit with the doctor. Is the office clean and professional? Do the doctor and staff treat you with respect? Ask yourself, will I be comfortable calling these people and depending on them, do I have an emergency at night or on the weekend? Will I feel comfortable expressing my concerns or disappointment if I feel this way? If you detect any discomfort or uncertainty, you should consult another doctor.
This new laser procedure is a remarkable, revolutionary advance in liposuction and fat burning techniques. The benefits can be very significant. However, the results of liposuction, like any surgical procedure, are highly dependent on the skill and expertise of your surgeon. Choose wisely and I expect you will have a very happy outcome.
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