Awake for Liposuction: Why patients are choosing local over general anesthesia
When we think of any type of surgery, we usually picture a patient in a bed who is completely asleep as surgeons perform a procedure. There are well-known exceptions to this, such as cesarean births that provide patients with a spinal that blocks nerve impulses, affecting the sense of touch and ability to move. However, there are a growing number of both medically necessary surgeries and cosmetic surgeries that are exploring local anesthesia over general anesthesia, effectively keeping patients awake for surgery. Tumescent liposuction is no different, keeping patients awake for liposuction surgery. Why are dermatologic surgeons embracing this concept?
Awake for Liposuction and Other Surgeries: How does it work?
As stated above, many surgeries usually require general anesthesia with a few notable exceptions. The most well-known and extensive are c-section births. However, there are other well-known surgeries that use local anesthesia while patients are awake, including mole and skin cancer removals, wisdom tooth extractions, and cyst extractions. However, as these procedures are generally small and less invasive, many patients forget that they are surgeries.
Local anesthesia works by delivering a localized anesthetic to the treatment area. With a mole removal, for example, lidocaine is administered via needle to the treatment area. Once the area is sufficiently numbed, the dermatologic surgeon gets to work removing the mole. The same is true of other surgeries mentioned above, with the exception of c-sections that have anesthesia administered into the spinal column.
Liposuction, being less invasive that a cesarean, also uses local anesthesia that is injected directly into the treatment area. The anesthesia contains a combination of diluted lidocaine and epinephrine, which keeps the patient comfortable while minimizing bleeding. The patient feels no pain but may feel movement and some pressure to the area while the unwanted fat is extracted through a slim cannula that is placed through a very small incision.
Why do patients want to be awake for liposuction?
All surgeries carry risk, but that risk increases when general anesthesia is introduced. Risks associated with general anesthesia include, but aren’t limited to:
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Allergic reaction
- Heart Attack
- Postoperative confusion and stress
These are only some of the risks associated with general anesthesia. In some cases, patients metabolize the anesthesia too quickly, resulting in a patient who wakes during surgery. Other patients have the opposite reaction, where the surgeons have trouble waking the patient once the procedure is completed.
Being awake for liposuction sounds scary. What if I’m nervous?
All surgery carries some anxiety with it, and this is totally normal for patients receiving tumescent liposuction. Dr. C. William Hanke, dermatologic surgeon at the Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana, will be able to provide you with an anti-anxiety medication or sedative to calm your nerves for your procedure.
What do patients say about tumescent liposuction?
The majority of patients find that being awake for liposuction is worth it for the results and the reduction of risks associated with dermatologic surgery. Our primary goal is patient safety and comfort at every step of the process. Our team will ensure that the patient is both emotionally and physically comfortable. Patients report feeling relaxed during the procedure, experience less downtime than with surgeries requiring general anesthesia, and experience less postoperative discomfort.
Not everyone is a good candidate for tumescent liposuction for a number of reasons. Patients who are allergic to lidocaine should not have tumescent liposuction. Other patients would benefit more from a non-surgical procedure such as CoolSculpting or Kybella. Every patient is different and should schedule a consultation to discuss their concerns and desired outcome with our team.
Schedule a Consultation for Fat Reduction in Indianapolis
Dermatologic surgeon Dr. C. William Hanke is a leader in tumescent liposuction, performing countless procedures every year while also lecturing and training other dermatologic surgeons on his techniques. He has also contributed to numerous peer-reviewed publications about the trend of being awake for liposuction in addition to other high-profile dermatologic procedures. Our Indianapolis dermatology practice also participated in a clinical trial for Kybella, the first non-surgical double chin treatment to be FDA-approved. Dr. Hanke’s reputation, skill, knowledge, and expertise make him a top choice for patients seeking cosmetic fat reduction in Indiana, and we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team today to find out how we can help you achieve the figure of your dreams.