Tumescent and syringe liposculpture: a logical partnership

J P Hunstad
Aesthetic Plastic Surgery 1995, 19 (4): 321-33
Liposuction has been traditionally performed under general anesthesia. Standard instrumentation for the procedure has included blunt-tipped suction cannulae connected to an electric vacuum pump by noncollapsible tubing. A subcutaneous injection of Lidocaine with Epinephrine is routinely employed to minimize blood loss during the procedure. This infiltration has been described as the "wet technique," but it is not a method to supplant general anesthesia. The tumescent technique, a method of infusing very large volumes of dilute lidocaine with epinephrine solutions, has been advocated as a satisfactory means for providing conscious anesthesia for liposuction procedures, avoiding the need for general anesthesia. The syringe technique employs blunt-tipped suction cannulae connected to a syringe. Drawing back the syringe plunger generates the negative pressures needed to remove fat during liposuction and replaces the electric vacuum pump and connecting tubing traditionally used for this procedure. This study evaluates the combined tumescent and syringe techniques for liposuction. One hundred consecutive patients were treated with the tumescent technique as the sole means of anesthesia and the syringe technique as the sole means of performing liposuction. A modified tumescent formula is presented. A comparison of liposuction aspirates using this modified tumescent technique is compared and contrasted to liposuction aspirates obtained using the "dry technique" and the "wet technique." A historical review of the syringe technique and its perceived attributes is also presented. Technical descriptions of the tumescent infusion method, tumescent fluid formulation, and suggested patient sedation and monitoring is presented. Photographic documentation of patients who underwent the combined tumescent and syringe liposculpture treating various body areas is shown. A critical analysis of the limitations of this combined technique is also described noting added time requirements, difficulties with under-correction of deformities, and need for reoperation, methods for determining the "end-point" for the procedure, as well as addressing large-volume liposuction problems. The conclusion reached by this study is that combining the tumescent technique and the syringe technique is a logical partnership. Each method complements the other, allowing liposuction to be performed with considerable advantage over traditional methods. These advantages include eliminating the need for general anesthesia, lessening blood loss and postoperative bruising, greater accuracy, precision, and overall high patient satisfaction.

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