Don’t Take Fat to Hilton Head

No matter what kind of shape you’re in, you have pockets of unwanted fat. Pretty much everyone, short of a hunger strike protester or a marathon runner, has pockets of fat that don’t respond to exercise or changes in diet.

Tumescent liposuction shows those fat cells the door. February is the perfect time to have Dr. Smith target some of those stubborn pockets of fat with liposuction, as you’ll be fully healed in time for the start of beach season.

What is tumescent liposuction?

In the beginning, liposuction was a pretty violent procedure. Initially developed in the 70s in France, coming to the U.S. in the 80s, the initial procedure required the patient to be under general anesthesia. The cannulas used were pretty large, and they were moved back and forth under the skin quite aggressively to break up and suction out the fat. Of course, this caused tissue trauma and bleeding, the perfect recipe for long-term bruising. Sometimes this wouldn’t fully clear the legs for months!

Then in 1985, Dr. Jeffrey Klein developed the tumescent method for liposuction. This involves injecting the target area with a saline solution that also contains lidocaine and epinephrine prior to performing the liposuction. This “tumescent” solution has a couple of effects on the area. First, the lidocaine anesthetizes the area, allowing the procedure to be performed with the patient awake. Second, the epinephrine constricts the blood vessels to limit bleeding and subsequent bruising. Plus, the solution also enables easier removal of the fat.

Another big improvement is the cannulas used. Dr. Smith uses very small cannulas (size 12-14 gauge) for his tumescent liposuction. Because they are so small, the cannulas can be inserted through tiny incisions. The cannulas create small tunnels in the fat through which Dr. Smith suctions out the fat. Those tunnels then gently collapse and create a smooth body silhouette. Afterwards, the incisions are so small, they don’t require stitches, but usually only a small topical bandage to close.


Today, liposuction is so much easier to tolerate than former methods. Patients wear compression garments for about one week after their procedure. There may be some slight bruising and numbness, but this passes in a week or so. Patients can usually return to work or normal activities in just a couple of days.

What do you have to lose…other than your unwanted fat? Call us at Smith Plastic Surgery, (843) 823-6913, to schedule a consultation for liposuction.


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Smith Plastic Surgery

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