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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Medical Devices

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Liposuction Glossary

Anesthetic - drugs that cause the loss of feeling or sensation.

Canula (or cannula) - a hollow pen-like instrument or tube used to draw off fluid.

Edema - swelling caused by large amount of fluid in cells or tissues.

Emboli - something that blocks a blood vessel. See embolism.

Embolism - the blocking of a blood vessel or organ by pieces of matter such as fat.

Emulsify - to break up into small pieces.

Epinephrine - a drug injected before liposuction to reduce bleeding during the procedure.

Infection - invasion by and multiplication of bacteria or microorganisms that can produce tissue injury.

Lidocaine - an anesthetic that may be injected in large amounts of liquid during liposuction.

Lipoplasty - another name for liposuction.

Liposuction - a usually cosmetic surgical procedure in which fat is removed from a specific area of the body, by means of suction.

Necrotizing Faciitis - a bacterial infection in which bacteria infect and kill the skin and underlying tissues.

Paresthesia - a change in feelings or sensation. May be an increase in feeling (pain) or a decrease in feeling (numbness).

Pulmonary embolism - pieces of fat may find their way into the blood stream and get stuck in the lungs during liposuction. This causes shortness of breath or trouble breathing.

Probe - see canula.

Sedative - a drug which helps a person to relax and may make them feel sleepy.

Seroma - a collection of fluid from the blood that has pooled at the liposuction site.

Skin necrosis - skin or underlying tissue dies and falls off.

Suction assisted liposuction - see liposuction.

Thrombophlebitis - inflammation of a vein caused by a blood clot.

Toxic Shock Syndrome - an infection caused by bacteria that release toxins into the body. This type of infection can occur after surgery if bacteria are accidentally introduced during the surgery.

Ultrasound assisted liposuction - a type of liposuction in which fat is first loosened by using an ultrasonic probe and then removed by means of suction.

Visceral perforations - organs may be punctured accidentally with the liposuction probe or canula during liposuction.