Cosmetically Speaking:

Tumescent Liposuction

By Dolores A. Rhymer-Anderson, MD, MBA, FACOG

The desire for as perfect body image has affected both men and women for thousands of years. For women, ideal body proportions and measurements as defined by our society have shrunk over the past few decades. Although the ideal male figure has changed little during this time, there has been an increasing emphasis on physical fitness in both sexes and a greater social acceptance of males who are exceedingly concerned about their body image. Although humans have sought improvement in their body proportions throughout history, the recent obsession has resulted in an explosive interest in liposuction.

Liposuction has undergone tremendous growth in popularity since its introduction in the US in 1982, Approximately 250,000 liposuctions were performed yearly in the US in the early 1990's but the number of cases has more than doubled since then. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, liposuction is now the most requested cosmetic surgical operation performed, outnumbering blepharoplastics (eyelid surgery), rhytidectomies (facelifts), rhinoplasties (nose surgery, and breast augmentations. Liposuction surgery is performed to remove unwanted localized deposits of fat cells from the body. The procedure is meant for body contouring, It is not a treatment for obesity.

With the Tumescent Technique, large volumes of saline, local anesthesia and adrenaline are infused into the fatty area being treated. This enables the surgeon to maneuver a small instrument, called a cannula, connected to a vacuum machine, superficially under the skin. The cannula is inserted into the fatty tissue through tiny incisions. The surgeon gently moves it around under the skin and suctions away the unwanted fatty deposits to reveal more attractive contours. Tumescent liposuction avoids the need for general anesthesia or sedation. (Sedation has been noted to increase the morbidity associated with liposuction.)

A good candidate for liposuction:

  • Has firm, elastic skin and is in good health.
  • Has tried to eliminate bulges through diet, exercise, and weight loss.
  • Has distinct area of localized fat that are disproportionate to the rest of their bodies.
  • Has realistic expectations and are only slightly to moderately overweight
  • Understands that liposuction is not a substitute for weight loss.

Your new figure will be similar to what you would expect if you could lose an equal amount of localized fat through diet and exercise alone. The use of smaller cannulas allows the fibrous connections between your skin and your body to remain, These connections will contract over time. As a result, excessive skin folds are so rare that many patients avoid the necessity for surgical skin excision by having excellent results with liposuction alone.

You will go home after the procedure and rest for few hours, after which you may gradually increase your activity as tolerated. After 3 to 5 days you may resume normal activities. You will need to wear a snug body stocking over the treated area to aid the healing.

The most frequent areas treated by liposuction in men are the "love handles", breasts, abdomen and necklines. In women, they include: thighs, hips, buttocks, stomach, knees, lower leg, cheeks and double chins. Liposuction is not a treatment for cellutite, although many patients do notice an improvement in the appearance of ceilulite after the fat cells are removed.

New Technologies in Liposuction

Standard Liposuction may also be referred to as Suction Assisted Lipoplasty (or SAL). Liposuction may also be performed with the use of ultrasonic energy to assist in breaking down the fat that is to be removed (ultrasonic assisted lipoplasty, UAL, VASERLIPOSELECTION).

SMARTLIPO is yet another type of liposuction commonly in the news today. Smartlipo can achieve the same result as VASER, but uses a different mechanism. Smartlipo uses a laser to accomplish the same thing the VASER accomplishes with ultrasonic energy. VASER uses high frequency ultrasonic sound wave and Smartlipo uses a beam of laser light to liquify the fat prior to its removal.

Cosmetically speaking, successful liposuction is measured in inches rather than pounds. The weight removed is not as important as the improvement in the body's contour. Many patients experience an immediate improvement in their self esteem and discover a greater self-confidence. In addition, many find greater access to different clothing styles and fashion and are less self-conscious at the gym, around the pool, or at the beach.

You may find out if you can benefit from Liopsuction by contacting DR. Rhymer-Anderson's Office At 770-760-8484 for consultation with her. Visit her website at:

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