Edward Lack, MD, a dermatalogic aesthetic surgeon and president-elect of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery, says tumescent anesthesia, which was first used in liposuction, can now be used for facelifts and breast augmentations.

With tumescent anesthesia, the fat under the skin in the face or neck is slowly injected with a mixture of saltwater, the painkiller lidocaine, and adrenaline, or epinephrine, which stops the bleeding. Enough fluid is injected so that the skin is taut.

“They had me lie down and listen to music,” says Carol, 55-year-old woman, who underwent a necklift with tumescent anesthesia. “The idea was to feel like I’d had a couple of martinis. I was totally numb, yet awake, so I knew what was going on, and the doctor was constantly asking if I was OK.”

According to Lack, avoiding the use of general anesthesia reduces the risk of death. Additional benefits of tumescent aesthetic surgery include lower potential for bleeding, less need for narcotics, and faster recovery.

[www.chicagotribune.com, June 27, 2006]