JOURNAL ARTICLE

Tumescent liposuction: standard guidelines of care

Venkataram Mysore
Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology 2008, 74 Suppl: S54-60
18688105

DEFINITION: Tumescent liposuction is a technique for the removal of subcutaneous fat under a special form of local anesthesia called tumescent anesthesia. PHYSICIAN'S QUALIFICATIONS: The physician performing liposuction should have completed postgraduate training in dermatology or a surgical specialty and should have had adequate training in dermatosurgery at a center that provides training in cutaneous surgery. In addition, the physician should obtain specific liposuction training or experience at the surgical table ("hands on") under the supervision of an appropriately trained and experienced liposuction surgeon. In addition to the surgical technique, training should include instruction in fluid and electrolyte balance, potential complications of liposuction, tumescent and other forms of anesthesia as well as emergency resuscitation and care.

FACILITY: Liposuction can be performed safely in an outpatient day care surgical facility, or a hospital operating room. The day care theater should be equipped with facilities for monitoring and handling emergencies. A plan for handling emergencies should be in place with which all nursing staff should be familiar. A physician trained in emergency medical care and acute cardiac emergencies should be available in the premises. It is recommended but not mandatory, that an anesthetist be asked to stand by.

INDICATIONS: Liposuction is recommended for all localized deposits of fat. Novices should restrict themselves to the abdomen, thighs, buttocks and male breasts. Arms, the medial side of the thigh and the female breast need more experience and are recommended for experienced surgeons. Liposuction may be performed for non-cosmetic indications such as hyperhidrosis of axillae after adequate experience has been acquired, but is not recommended for the treatment of obesity.

PREOPERATIVE EVALUATION: Detailed history is to be taken with respect to any previous disease, drug intake and prior surgical procedures. Liposuction is contraindicated in patients with severe cardiovascular disease, severe coagulation disorders including thrombophilia, and during pregnancy. Physical evaluation should be detailed and should include assessment of general physical health to determine the fitness of the patient for surgery, as well as the examination of specific sites that need liposuction to check for potential problems.

PREOPERATIVE INFORMED CONSENT: The patient should sign a detailed consent form listing details about the procedure and possible complications. The consent form should specifically state the limitations of the procedure and should mention whether more procedures are needed for proper results. The patient should be provided with adequate opportunity to seek information through brochures, computer presentations, and personal discussions. Preoperative laboratory studies to be performed include Hb%, blood counts including platelet counts, bleeding and clotting time (or prothrombin and activated partial thromboplastin time) and blood chemistry profile; ECG is advisable. Liver function tests, and pregnancy test for women of childbearing age are performed as mandated by the individual patient's requirements. Ultrasound examination is recommended in cases of gynecomastia.

PREOPERATIVE MEDICATION: Preoperative antibiotics and non-sedative analgesics such as paracetamol are recommended. The choice of antibiotic and analgesic agents depends on the individual physician's preference and the prevailing local conditions.

TYPE OF ANESTHETIC EMPLOYED: Lidocaine is the preferred local anesthetic; its recommended dose is 35-45 mg/kg and doses should not exceed 55 mg/kg wt. The recommended concentration of epinephrine in tumescent solutions is 0.25-1.5 mg/L. The total dosage of epinephrine should be minimized and should not exceed 50 microg/kg.

SURGICAL TECHNIQUE/PROCEDURE: t is always advisable not to combine liposuction with other procedures to avoid exceeding the recommended dosage of lignocaine. However, such combinations may be attempted if the total required dose of lignocaine does not exceed the maximum dose indicated above. The recommended cannula size for liposuction is not to be larger than 3.5 mm in diameter. The recommended volume of fat removed is in proportion to the fat content and/or size and/or weight of the patient being treated. It is recommended that the volume of fat removed not exceed 5000 mL in a single operative session. arge volume liposuctions or mega-liposuctions are not recommended.

INTRAOPERATIVE AND POSTOPERATIVE MONITORING: Baseline vital signs including blood pressure and heart rate, are recorded pre- and postoperatively. Pulse oximeter monitoring is essential in all cases.

POSTOPERATIVE CARE: Postoperative antibiotics should be selected by the physician and taken for five days. Postoperative antiinflammatory drugs such as Cox 2 Inhibiters may be given for 5-7 days; specialized compression garments, binders, and tape help to reduce bruising, hematomas, seromas, and pain. Generally, compression is recommended for two weeks although this is variable according to the needs of the individual patient.

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