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Dermatol Clin. 1990 Jul;8(3):425-37.

The tumescent technique. Anesthesia and modified liposuction technique.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of California, Irvine.


Using the tumescent technique, liposuction can remove large volumes of fat with minimal blood loss. A maximal safe dosage of dilute lidocaine using the tumescent technique is estimated to be 35 mg/kg. The slow infiltration of a local anesthetic solution of lidocaine and epinephrine minimizes the rate of systemic absorption and reduces the potential for toxicity. Dilution of lidocaine (0.05% of 0.1%) and epinephrine (1:1,000,000) further delays absorption and reduces the magnitude of peak plasma lidocaine concentrations. Using the tumescent technique for liposuction, peak plasma lidocaine levels occur 12 hours after the initial injection. Clinically significant local anesthesia persists for up to 18 hours. For liposuction, it is not necessary to use local anesthetics, which are longer acting and potentially more cardiotoxic than lidocaine.

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