How Long Until Tumescent Fluid Leaves the Body After Liposuction?

After vaser liposuction with PAL, how long does it take for all the tumescent fluid to leave the body? 

Doctor Answers 14

Tumescent fluid drainage after liposuction

Tumescent fluid used during liposuction has a numbing effect for around 24 hours.  I leave adit sites, the entrance sites to the cannulas, open to speed up drainage of the tumescent fluid.  The fluid will drain out of these sites for usually 1-2 days, depending on the amount that was used.  Additionally, patients often note that they urinate more in the first 24 hours, as your kidneys also help to eliminate some of the excess fluid.

San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
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Tumescent solution disappears over 24-48 hrs but swelling also kicks in at same time.

The tumescent solution is a combination of fluid plus local anesthetics and epineprhine. Studies have shown that most of the local anesthetics are absorbed by 18-24 hours.

However, at the same time the injjury of liposuction causes your own body fluids to pool in the area. Similar to the reasons why your lip swells when you get punched.

So, as the tumescent fluid is being absorbed, your bodies inflammatory process causes swelling which contributes to the drainage observed. This reaches a maximum at 48-72 hours.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

24 hours

Some of the fluid is removed at the liposuction.  The remaining fluid is absorbed over 24 hours and the excess is excreted in the urine.  There is some swelling in the tissues from the surgery which remains for months until complete resolution.

Liposuction tumescent fluid is absorbed over 24 hours

The tumescent fluid used in liposuction serves two purposes. The first is that the solution expands the fatty layer and makes the suction cannula more effective at removing and contouring the fat. The second reason is the the solution contains medication, lidocaine which numbs the area being treated, and epinephrine which shrinks the blood vessels to reduce bleeding and swelling, and prolong the time the lidocaine is around. Suctioning may remove up to one half of the fluid, the rest is slowly absorbed over the next 24 hours smoothing the transition into recovery. Swelling will start within that time and replace the tumescent fluid to compression is a must for comfort.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tumescent Fluid Is Usually Reabsorbed & Excreted By Kidneys 24-45 Hours Following Liposuction


The Tumescent liposuction technique involves infusing fluid into the subcutaneous tissue before proceeding with liposuction.  This fluid contains epinephrine and local anesthesia.  This helps alleviate post-operative pain and minimizes bleeding during the procedure.  In addition, the fluid improves the pressure gradient and allows greater amounts of fat to be removed.

                  In most cases the tumescent fluid is resorbed and excreted by the kidneys in 24 to 45 hours.  Despite this, patients may continue to be swollen for 3-4 weeks following this procedure because the body responds to any type of injury by retaining fluid.  This phenomena can be minimized with massage, compression, exercise and low salt diets.

Tumescent fluid dissipates in a day or two, but swelling takes longer to resolve.

Like so many questions about plastic surgery, this is an answer that will vary depending on a number of factors such as where liposuction was performed, the amount of tumescent fluid that was used and so on. For the majority of patients, most of the fluid is expelled in the first 24 to 48 hours after surgery. Wearing a compression garment helps to promote drainage while the body’s natural elimination processes take care of the rest. While post-surgical swelling may lead some patients to believe that the fluid is still present longer than those first few days, this is really a separate part of the healing process and doesn’t necessarily indicate a collection of tumescent fluid.

Tumescent Lipo

When the area heals after tumescent lipo, there can be irregular tissue for months.  In 6-8 months, thing should be back to normal, minus the fat.  Although some irregularity is expected after lipo if an aggressive procedure is performed.  Micro-tumescent needs to be defined by the one advertising the procedure as the tumescent name is general at best. Thank you for your question and good luck with everything.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Swelling after tumescent liposuction

After tumescent Latin suction, patients should expect to experience swelling, bruising, and minimal drainage from the liposuction incision sites. These swelling and drainage is from the tumescent fluid that has yet to leave your body. In our practice, we inform patients that they may expect a small amount of drainage for the first 3 to 4 days after their surgery. Afterwards, they will continue to have swelling that is best treated with elevation and with wearing the compression garment.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

How long does it take to absorb the tumescent fluid after liposuction?

Most of the tumescent fluid is extracted with liposuction at the time of surgery. The remainder drains out or is absorbed within the first 24 hours. Swelling after liposuction is the result of surgical trauma and third space transfer of fluids. Swelling resolves over time and takes at least 3-6 months.

Joel B. Singer, MD
Old Greenwich Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tumescent fluid drainage varies by treatment location

Most of the tumescent fluid drains out within the first day. For the abdomen, one should expect drainage to last the longest, about three to five days. For areas like the thighs or arms, not much drains after the first day. A good general rule is to wear your compression garment 24 hours beyond fluid drainage.

Surprising to some, swelling is expected to increase after the first day. Similar to an ankle sprain, the swelling occurs with some delay after the event. Swelling will decrease over the next one to four weeks. By six weeks, one should be able to see most of the results, although continued improvement is often seen for six months. One can maximize the results by avoiding sugar, eating small portions and being active every day.

T. Wayne Day, MD
Nashville Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

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.