Are patients awake for Tumescent Liposuction, or is there the option of having local or general anesthesia?

Doctor Answers 8

Tumescent liposuction includes local anesthesia

Tumescent liposuction includes local anesthesia.

However, most patients still require some level of sedation for anything more than minor treatments.

My preferred method is conscious sedation for IV sedation.

I have abandoned the use of general anesthesia for liposuction except for rare cases.

It's simply not necessary and has multiple drawbacks.

These include risks of general anesthesia, nausea and vomiting, increased costs, inability to reach certain areas such as the back and flanks, compromising results, etc.

Many plastic surgeons prefer to use general anesthesia.

During my training, we always used the general anesthesia for liposuction.

Having learned the techniques of doing liposuction with patients awake, I feel it is by far preferable.

You will find most doctors who are not plastic surgeons will do this procedure without general anesthesia because they do not have access to operating rooms.

To have privileges in the hospital operating room or surgery center, a doctor must have the correct qualifications and have been properly trained in surgery.

There are certainly patients who are very sensitive or have high levels of anxiety who will do much better with general anesthesia.

Ideally, all options should be available for the patient.

Best of luck,

Mats Hagstrom, M.D.


San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Have a question? Ask a doctor

Tumescent Liposuction anesthesia options

Tumescent liposuction can be done under local anesthesia (with mild oral sedation with Valium or a similar medication) or with twilight sedation (where you aren't completely under general anesthesia but have IV sedation) or with full general anesthesia.

The amount of sedation depends on how many areas are being done, the patient's pain threshold, the patient's anxiety level, and the availability of different sedation options at the center where you are having the tumescent liposuction done. If you have multiple tattoos and have a good pain threshold, then mild oral sedation will be just fine for you; if you are really nervous about the procedure, then twilight sedation may be a good option for you.

Are patients awake for Tumescent Liposuction, or is there the option of having local or general anesthesia?

Your options for anaesthesia will vary by surgeon and facility. Tumescent liposuction in particular has a wide variety of options because of the local anaesthetic that is used in the solution. This allows you to be wide awake, under general anaesthetic or anywhere along the 'twilight' spectrum in between. The decision as to what will be best for you should be made in consultation with your surgeon and the anesthesiologist that works with them. As important as it is to have a board-certified plastic surgeon performing your liposuction, make sure that they are using a board certified anesthesiologist to administer your anaesthetic if you are going to be having a general. Best of Luck!

Liposuction can be done under general anesthesia or local, each has its pros and cons

Liposuction can be done under general anesthesia or local, each has its pros and cons.  I realize that many patients are scared of 'going under' but the truth is having general anesthesia is perfectly safe.  It also allows a surgeon to get the job done faster and treat more areas.  Having local limits how many areas can be done at a time and how much can be done at a time because there is a limit of how much local anesthetic can be used.  If too much local is used, it is toxic.  So General anesthesia is better in such situations

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 241 reviews

Tumescent Liposuction and Anesthesia

Patients can be moderately sedated for tumescent liposuction (depending on whether the facility is accredited to administer moderate sedation) or it can be done with just an anti-anxiety medication. Some may offer general anesthesia, but studies have shown that it is with general anesthesia that most complications such as death, pulmonary embolisms, and other comorbidities occur.

Sabrina Fabi, MD
San Diego Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Can tumescent Lipo suction be performed under local or general anesthesia?

Tumescent liposuction can be used with general or local anesthesia. With local anesthesia the number of areas that can be treated is limited by the amount of local anesthetic that is to be used whereas with general anesthesia you can treat more Areas. In my experience you can do an equally good job with either technique. Best Wishes!

William G. Hart Jr., MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Are patients awake for Tumescent Liposuction, or is there the option of having local or general anesthesia?

I use general anesthesia for most larger cases.  Local is appropriate for smaller areas.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Liposuction and local vs general anesthesia

I have done liposuction under both local and general anesthesia and overwhelmingly prefer general anesthesia. Patients pay me for a result and I can be much more thorough/aggressive with the patient asleep. Physicians touting local anesthesia and warning of the dangers of general anesthesia usually have non-surgical backgrounds and are trying to rely on the general public's fear of being "put under"! In healthy patients and in a certified setting, modern day general anesthesia is extremely safe. Hope this helps, good luck!

Marcel Daniels, MD
Long Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

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.