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Plasma lidocaine levels and risks after liposuction with tumescent anaesthesia

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It is common today to use tumescent anaesthesia with large doses of lidocaine for liposuction. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate lidocaine plasma levels and objective and subjective symptoms during 20 h after tumescent anaesthesia with approximately 35 mg per kg bodyweight of lidocaine for abdominal liposuction. Methods: 

Three litres of buffered solution of 0.08% lidocaine with epinephrine was infiltrated subcutaneously over the abdomen in eight female patients during monitored intravenous (i.v.) light sedation. Plasma levels of lidocaine and signs of subjective and objective symptoms were recorded every 3 h for 20 h after liposuction. Results: 

Lidocaine 33.2 ± 1.8 mg/kg was given at a rate of 116 ± 11 ml/min. Peak plasma levels (2.3 ± 0.63 µg/ml) of lidocaine occurred after 5–17 h. No correlation was found between peak levels and dose per kg bodyweight or total amount of lidocaine infiltrated. One patient experienced tinnitus after 14 h when a plasma level of 3.3 µg/ml was recorded. Conclusion: 

Doses of lidocaine up to 35 mg/kg were sufficient for abdominal liposuction using the tumescent technique and gave no fluid overload or toxic symptoms in eight patients, but with this dose there is still a risk of subjective symptoms in association with the peak level of lidocaine that may appear after discharge.
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Keywords: lidocaine; liposuction; sedation; tumescent anesthesia

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Nordström Medical Clinic and Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care, Karolinska University Hospital in Solna, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: 01 November 2005

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