Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Liposuction Under Local Anesthesia

Liposuction under local anesthesia is a procedure that can help you get rid of stubborn fat deposits in your body. The procedure usually takes about an hour and is performed with a small incision, a tube, and suction. Liposuction under local anesthesia is considered less invasive than other liposuction procedures because it does not require general anesthesia.

During the procedure, the surgeon will make one or several small incisions near the area where you want to lose weight. The surgeon then places a thin tube called a cannula through these incisions into the fatty tissue surrounding your muscles and organs. The cannula helps remove unwanted fat cells from their source without damaging any surrounding tissue or nerves. Afterward, the surgeon removes any remaining fluid and blood from your body before closing the incisions with sutures or staples.

Liposuction under local anesthesia may be used for several different parts of your body including: Inner thighs, Lower back (love handles), Arms (underarms)

Right here on Cosmeticsurgerytips, you are privy to a litany of relevant information on which anesthesia is better for liposuction, local anesthesia liposuction reviews, cost of liposuction with local anesthesia, and so much more. Take out time to visit our catalog for more information on similar topics.

Liposuction Under Local Anesthesia

Dr. John Q. Cook, the founder and director of the Whole Beauty® Institute in Chicago and Winnetka, has performed a variety of liposuction techniques under local anesthesia for many years. Current techniques that we perform under local include classical liposuction, Vaser® liposuction, SmartLipo® and SlimLipo® laser liposuction, SAFElipo, and BodyTite®. Here are 10 things we have learned from the hundreds of happy patients that we have treated with local anesthesia techniques:

1. You don’t have to experience surgery in a state of starvation

In the United States, most centers require a prolonged period of fasting before any procedure that requires general anesthesia or IV sedation. This means that the patient begins the procedure in a state of hunger and often low blood sugar. The patients feels awful, even before the procedure, and this amplifies the effects of the typical anesthesia “hangover”.

With local anesthesia liposuction, you can eat a light meal before your procedure, so you begin your day in a state of comfort.

2. Our patients like the safety of liposuction under local anesthesia

Many of the serious complications that can occur with a procedure such as liposuction are anesthesia related. The safety of modern anesthetic techniques in the United States is a medical triumph, but complications cannot be reduced to zero. Local anesthesia provides a remarkable degree of safety.

3. Patient anxiety is reduced with local anesthetic techniques

At our centers in Winnetka and Chicago, we maximize patient comfort and well-being. We establish a calm mood for our patients from the moment they arrive for surgery. Over the years we have learned that much of the anxiety that surrounds surgery is really related to concern about anesthesia, rather than the surgery itself. The anesthesia-related anxiety is relieved with local anesthesia techniques.

4. Local anesthesia liposuction is not for everyone

We carefully screen our patients to make sure that the local anesthesia experience will be the right choice. Some people are just terrified of any procedure, even going to the dentist. For someone like this IV sedation or a light general anesthetic administered by an expert level anesthesiologist makes sense. For these patients, we carry out surgery at a top level surgical facility near our Chicago office.


5. Local anesthesia liposuction works best in small doses

If a patient has many zones that he or she wants to be treated, it is not practical to treat these in a single session. Under these circumstances, there are two choices. Very often patients will come in for several treatments of local anesthesia liposuction, sometimes separated by just a few days. Another option is to treat all areas at one session but to do so under IV sedation at the surgical facility that we have selected for our patients.

6. At the Whole Beauty® Institute, the majority of our liposuction is done under local anesthesia

Word has spread about the success and comfort of local anesthesia liposuction at the Whole Beauty® Institute. Patients select us because of our reputation for artistic judgment, attention to detail, and high-quality results.

7. The fundamental rules of liposuction remain the same regardless of anesthesia technique

Liposuction of any sort is not a substitute for a foundation of good habits of diet and exercise. The purpose of liposuction is not to provide weight loss, but to contour the body into a beautiful shape.

8. Laser Liposuction and BodyTite® can tighten as well as reduce fat

Liposuction on its own will not tighten skin that is extremely loose. We have beautiful techniques of abdominoplasty and other body contour procedures that will take care of this. For patients with milder degrees of looseness laser liposuction techniques such as SlimLipo® and SmartLipo® can provide a deeper tightening. The Whole Beauty® team was the first practice in the Midwest to work with BodyTite®, a technology that provides significant tightening for patients with mild to moderate skin looseness, and we use this frequently in our patients.

9. Experience, Credentials, and Artistic Judgement of the Surgeon are the Keys to Success

The techniques that Dr. Cook uses are the products of 20 years of refinement. Both liposuction and local anesthetic techniques are art forms. No matter how advanced the device, beautiful results occur only in the hands of an experienced plastic surgeon with a highly-developed visual aesthetic.

10. Most Patients are pleasantly surprised by the ease of recovery from local anesthesia liposuction

When we finish the procedure our patients are clear-headed. There is none of the fuzziness that many people experience after general anesthesia. We help the patient into his or her garment, and the patient has a refreshing drink of juice and is escorted by a team member to the person who will drive them home. With many of our techniques, the time necessary for the support garment has been significantly reduced. Most patients return to work and normal light activity very quickly.


Which Anesthesia Is Better For Liposuction

Liposuction was first performed under general anesthesia. These early procedures resulted in extensive bleeding and bruising and lengthy recovery times. In the late 1980s, Dr. Jeffrey Klein applied a common concept in dermatology – using tumescent fluid – to liposuction. This allowed surgeons to perform liposuction using only local anesthetic, but what’s more, it also greatly reduced bleeding, bruising, and overall recovery time compared to those early procedures.

Today, liposuction patients under general anesthesia or local anesthesia both receive tumescent fluid as part of their operation. However, there are still some key differences between procedures using each type of anesthetic and what can be accomplished with each. Based on personal preference, your specific body goals, or your budget, one type of anesthesia may be better suited to you.

Real Houston Lipo Center patient results. Liposuction performed under local anesthesia.

Benefits and Downsides of Liposuction Under Local Anesthesia

Liposuction under local anesthesia is performed by many surgeons both here in Houston, TX and across the globe. Its main benefits are patient peace of mind (some people don’t like the idea of “going under”), lower cost, and less risk.

Benefits of Local Anesthesia

  • Greater peace of mind – some patients find the idea of general anesthesia uncomfortable, and recovery from general anesthesia can be a disconcerting experience
  • No risk of complications associated with general anesthesia
  • It’s less expensive, since an anesthesiologist is not required
  • Traveling to a hospital or surgery center is not required
  • Surgeons generally use smaller cannulas, which results in less risk for scarring, bleeding and bruising

Downsides of Local Anesthesia

  • Performing lipo under local anesthesia may limit the size of cases or the number of areas that can be done in one procedure, both for patient comfort and due to the potential for lidocaine toxicity

Benefits and Downsides of Liposuction Under General Anesthesia

Liposuction under general anesthesia is still considered by many surgeons to be the preferred way to perform liposuction – its definitely easier for the surgeon, as they don’t have to worry about making sure the surgical area is completely numb. The main benefit for patients is that it allows for larger cases to be performed in one procedure – and of course, if being awake during surgery sounds scary to you, then general anesthesia might be preferable.

Benefits of General Anesthesia

  • You won’t feel or hear a thing! If you’d rather be asleep for your liposuction procedure, then general anesthesia is the clear choice
  • More body areas can be treated in one procedure – if you’re wanting “full body” lipo (4+ areas) performed in one procedure, you’ll need general anesthesia

Downsides of General Anesthesia

  • There are always some risks and potential complications associated with general anesthesia
  • Recovering from general anesthesia takes time and will come with the usual side effects of drowsiness and nausea immediately following the procedure
  • It’s more expensive! Having an anesthesiologist on-hand, plus the costs of a surgery center will mean there’s a big price difference
  • Surgeons often use larger cannulas during cases with general anesthesia. This requires larger incisions, and these larger cannulas have the potential to cause more bleeding and bruising, which can lengthen recovery time

When to Choose Local or General Anesthesia for Your Liposuction Procedure

Some surgeons may insist that general anesthesia is the only way – that simply isn’t true. If you’re only wanting one area suctioned, such as the chin, arms, or love handles, then your surgeon will likely recommend local anesthesia. For smaller cases and smaller areas (like the chin), general anesthesia simply isn’t necessary and shouldn’t be used. However, if you want a lot of areas done, then general anesthesia may be preferrable. Getting more than three areas suctioned in a single procedure may not be possible using local anesthesia – of course it all depends on the size of your case and the areas you’re treating.

Generally, this is a decision that comes down to personal preference. If you’re wanting to be asleep for the whole procedure, stick with general anesthesia! If going under sounds scary and you’d rather be awake (with a mild oral sedative), then lipo under local anesthesia is probably the right choice for you.

If you’re wanting a lot of areas done but don’t want to go under or would like to be asleep but only want a single area suctioned, then unfortunately you’re going to have to choose what’s more important for you. At the end of the day, the type of anesthesia you choose is a personal choice, but it should be an informed choice based on your goals and preferences so that you can be sure you’re comfortable throughout the process and get the results you want

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