Can liposuction be done under local anesthesia?

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Liposuction has remained the gold standard of body contouring. You are not alone in your struggle with excess fat in some areas of your body like the abdomen, waist, and thighs. It is not easy to get rid of these stubborn deposits simply with diet change and regular exercises. There are thousands of people who are at their ideal weight with toned muscles, but they just cannot get rid of these undesirable bumps from some areas of their body. Also known as the ‘fit fat’, this can be effectively removed with the surgical procedure of liposuction. There are some non-surgical procedures as well for body contouring; however, they are not as precise or powerful as the liposuction.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure and the one anxiety most patients have is that it needs to be performed under general anesthesia. The use of general anesthesia means that your recovery is longer, and you may suffer from nausea. Fortunately, board-certified surgeon Dr. Wallach offers his patients the option of undergoing liposuction under local anesthesia wherever it is appropriate.

Who is a good candidate for liposuction under local anesthesia?

Dr. Wallach will conduct an examination to determine whether you are a good candidate to undergo liposuction under local anesthesia. When you come for your initial consultation, he will listen to your body contouring concerns and understand your aesthetic goals. After your complete physical evaluation, he will be able to customize a treatment plan that is optimal for your specific anatomy, requirements, and goals.    

The main consideration when choosing local anesthesia for your liposuction is the amount of fat to be removed. If you are struggling with a significant amount of fat in multiple body areas, your liposuction procedure will take longer. It is important that it is performed under general anesthesia for your own safety in this case. When you have localized fat or just a few and smaller fat pockets, then it is usually safe to undergo liposuction with local anesthesia.

General vs. local anesthesia

When you choose general anesthesia, a mask will be placed over your mouth allowing you to inhale the drug that puts you into a deep sleep. When you undergo the procedure under local anesthesia, there is no deep sleep. Dr. Wallach will give you a prescription pain killer as well as some medication for relaxation. Once you get to the operating room, numbing medicine will be injected directly into the treatment area. This numbing medicine is known as the tumescent fluid and it consists of epinephrine and lidocaine. While lidocaine numbs the treatment area so that there is minimal discomfort, the epinephrine in the tumescent fluid reduces the bleeding and allows for the maximum fat removal.

What are the benefits of getting liposuction under local anesthesia?

There are many benefits of undergoing the liposuction procedure under local anesthesia:

  • The risks of associated complications are lesser with the use of local anesthesia.
  • Your recovery time from the surgery will be shorter.
  • There is a lower risk of post-surgical nausea.
  • It is usually less expensive to get local anesthesia than general anesthesia.
  • You need not go to a hospital; your surgery can be done in a surgery center or the surgeon’s office too.

Increasingly more of Dr. Wallach’s patients are opting to undergo the liposuction procedure using local anesthesia. They like the fact that they can stay awake through the procedure and are aware of their surroundings which allows them to recover faster and return to their normal routine.

Steven Wallach MD

Steven Wallach MD

Dr. Wallach is a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York City who specializes in performing cosmetic procedures of the face, breast and body. As one of the cutting edge experts in the field, Dr. Wallach consults on a regular basis with people in the beauty, media, and publishing worlds.

Meet Dr. Wallach

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