Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is a technique that was developed and refined in the late 90’s for improved patient outcome and recovery. Tumescent fluid is infiltrated in the treatment area to not only numb the patient, but prevent excessive bleeding. Previously, liposuction treatments were marred by skin irregularities, long healing periods, and patients had to undergo general anesthesia. With the tumescent liposuction technique, patients are able to remove unwanted fat with local anesthesia alone.

Tumescent Liposuction Overview - Everything You Need to Know

The Skinny

Tumescent Liposuction
avg. recovery
10 days
Minor Surgical Procedure
$2000 - $11000

About the Procedure

Last Updated: 08.02.2021

Previously, liposuction procedures were performed under general anesthesia and patients would experience excessive bleeding. With the introduction of tumescent liposuction, only local anesthesia was needed and patients had better results with a shorter recovery period. This technique was developed so that general anesthesia would not be necessary for what is now one of the most popular cosmetic procedures in the United States. The tumescent technique has been continually improved upon with additional technology that melts fat for easier removal with either laser or radiofrequency energy. Tumescent fluid is comprised of 3 main components: lidocaine, epinephrine, and saline. The lidocaine is used to numb the treatment area while the epinephrine, which is a vasoconstrictor, helps to temporarily shrink blood vessels to prevent excessive bleeding, and saline to dilute the solution. The tumescent fluid causes injected tissue to swell and become firm, making removal of the fat easier. Tumescent liposuction can be performed all over the body and is a technique commonly combined with other forms of energy assisted fat removal. Common areas to perform tumescent liposuction include the neck, arms, back, legs, stomach, and butt area. When multiple areas are receiving treatment at once, such as the hips, thighs, and abdominal area, it may be referred to as lipo 360. Before treatment, the skin will be cleansed and markings will be made as to wear the liposuction will occur. The patient will lay comfortably on an operating table. The incision site will be anesthetized and a small cut will be made so the cannula can be inserted. First, a cannula will be inserted that will distribute the tumescent fluid which will numb the treatment area in both deeper and more superficial layers of fat. This process can take 30-60 minutes. Once the patient is thoroughly numbed, the fat aspiration will begin. A cannula will be inserted and moved in a back and fort motion to dislodge and suction fatty deposits. The procedure can last from 45 minutes to 2-3 hours depending on the size of the treatment area or if multiple areas are being treated. Once complete, stitches are not typically necessary, but a compression garment will be applied. The compression garment helps any excess tumescent fluid drain from the body as well as reduce swelling and bruising.

The goal of tumescent liposuction is to remove unwanted body fat and improve body contours.

Recovery Notes

Most patients are able to resume normal activity 5 days after the procedure. Full routine is resumed within 1-2 weeks, after which compression garments no longer need to be worn.

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for tumescent liposuction is in generally good health but is unable to reduce a fatty deposit that is well localized and often seems to involve a genetic susceptibility.

Not Recommended For

Tumescent liposuction is not recommended for patients who have an unstable weight.

Side Effects

Side effects from tumescent liposuction may include slight and temporary temperature elevation, bruising, swelling, muscle soreness, and itching.


  • less blood loss
  • less likelihood of a secondary procedure
  • common procedure


  • invasive
  • not suitable for significant weight loss
  • not suitable for poor skin elasticity

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