The kind of anesthesia that is used for liposuction (more details on how liposuction is performed here) depends on a few factors, most importantly the amount of liposuction that is performed and the patient’s preference. For small volumes of liposuction, it is possible to use only local anesthesia: the area is made numb with medication, and the patient is awake and comfortable due to the numbing medication. For larger volumes of liposuction, intravenous (IV) sedation (also called “twilight” anesthesia) or general anesthesia can be used. In “twilight” anesthesia, medication is administered through an IV to make the patient feel very relaxed, in addition to the numbing medication used in local anesthesia. The patient is breathing on his or her own during twilight anesthesia. General anesthesia, in addition to local numbing medication, uses a combination of IV medication and inhaled medication to make the patient completely asleep, and breathing is often aided by a machine.
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