Liposuction blood loss is often minimal thanks to the introduction of tumescent technique. This involves injecting tumescent fluids, which contain epinephrine that constricts the blood vessels during surgery and prolongs the numbing effects of lidocaine (i.e., local anesthesia).
However, some patients bleed more than others due to some underlying medical condition. Also, large volume liposuction—i.e., removing more than 4 liters of fluids in one day—is also linked to increased bleeding and possibly longer recovery.
Reducing liposuction blood loss is the first and most crucial step to make the surgery safer, says leading Los Angeles plastic surgeon Dr. Tarick Smiley who has performed over 9,000 liposuctions.
He explains how me reduces the amount of bleeding with the techniques shown below:
- Lab screening
He requires all his patients to pass a rigorous set of physical exam to ensure that they can handle the surgery. Furthermore, any medical condition that could lead to increased bleeding and poor healing such as anemia is treated ahead of the operation.
Moreover, Dr. Smiley’s board-certified anesthesiologist requires his patients to pass another lab screening.
- Patient preparation
Once the patients have passed the lab screening, they are instructed to discontinue all blood thinning medications and supplements (aspirin, ibuprofen, fish oil, ginko biloba, etc.) 1-2 weeks before surgery to reduce bleeding and postop bruising.
Furthermore, the patients are required to discontinue smoking and smoking cessation products a few weeks prior to surgery. It is also helpful when they avoid or at least cut back on caffeine and alcohol.
- Tumescent liposuction technique
Dr. Smiley always injects the fatty area with tumescent solution, which contains epinephrine to constrict the blood vessels and ultimately minimize the amount of bleeding.
Despite all efforts, small capillaries are slightly injured during surgery and thus bleeding still occurs, although oftentimes this is just minimal.
- Cell Saver
Some patients require large volume liposuction to achieve their desired results. However, it comes with one caveat: more bleeding.
To prevent significant liposuction blood loss, Dr. Smiley uses Cell Saver, a piece of equipment that can filter out and collect the red blood cells that have been removed during surgery. These cells are then re-infused into the patients as if no blood loss has occurred.
- Never rush one’s recovery
All patients are instructed to avoid over-exertion for at least three weeks after surgery to prevent postop bleeding and persistent bruising and swelling.