General Anaesthesia for Smart Lipo?

Hello, I'm considering a Smart Lipo on my upper arms and my surgeon told me that he would do a general anesthesia because a local one would be "too complicated" (he said that the procedure might take about 2 hours).

I'm 30 years old and I'm at my target weight, so I'm pretty sure that there is not so much fat to remove. I just would like to make sure that the surgeon doesn't insist of doing a general anesthesia for the wrong reasons (easier for him and and more expensive for me?). What do you think? 

Doctor Answers 5

Local anesthesia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}
If you're only having a bit of fat removed and only your arms are targeted, local would probably be a better option. However, ask your surgeon why it would be "too complicated". Is the length of surgery time the only reason why it would be more complicated?

Smart Lipo of the arms can be done under local anesthesia

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Based on your size, your desires, and the fact that only one area is being done, there should be no reason not to perform Smart Lipo under local anesthesia.

Kenneth L. Stein, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Never need General Anesthesia for Liposuction

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I have been performing Liposuction for almost 28 years and SmartLipo for more than 2 years and have never performed arm liposuction under general anesthesia! There is no need to add the risk of General Anesthesia to a safe and proven procedure such as lipo of the arms.

It is very easy to achieve complete anesthesia and absence of discomfort when combining Tumescent infiltration with mild IV sedation. The arms are one of the easiest areas for an experienced surgeon to completely numb the surgical sight.

Even when large, full body liposuction is performed , there is no need for general anesthesia. With the combination of Epidural anesthesia ( the most common anesthesia for childbirth! ), Tumescent infiltration, and IV sedation, total body lipo can be performed while keeping the patient safe.

Ask your surgeon for a good reason to use GA or seek a surgeon who is performing modern safe liposuction.

Richard L. Dolsky, MD (retired)
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon

You might also like...

Insist on someone who actually knows what they're doing

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

SmartLipo is usually done in conjunction with tumescent liposuction, which is done without general anesthesia. In fact, the reason that it was started was safety concerns with general anesthesia, which has a certain amount of people who don't wake up after surgery (remember Kanye West's mom?).

So, this doctor just hasn't taken the time to learn how to do the right method and/or send one of his staff to learn. Without learning it, you can't do the tumescent method. You will also miss out on the great things that accompany the tumescent method:

  • little or no bruising
  • quick recovery in a day or two
  • minimal pain after the procedure
  • less risk of complications

My suggestion: Find a dermatologist in your area that does tumescent liposuction and go there. Good luck!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

General anaesthesia for Smart Lipo

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Since I am one of the Clinical Instructors for Smart Lipo I will address you concerns but I would need more info. Like type of Smart Lipo unit, MPX vs 18 watt, amount of arm correction needed. Thus a photo would surely help.

I recommend general anesthesia if I plan on delivering over 25,000 joules of energy from the Smart Lipo unit. But I also would do this under heavy I.V. sedation. So your doctor is not incorrect but you need a better explanation from him.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.