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Tumescent Anesthesia Face Lift?

I would like to know, does any plastic surgeon have experience with this procedure? Any opinions?

Doctor Answers 16

Tumescent anesthesia is an adjunct to facelifts conducted under sedation

Analogous to tumescent liposuction, tumescent anesthesia assists both the surgical team and the patient by providing additional anesthesia, control of bleeding and decreasing the amount of IV meds administered. My anesthesiologists like the fact that once a patient has received some local anesthesia, they are easier to reblock, if necessary. Unlike lipo, I don't inject 2-3x the volume of local as this would cause a distortion of the surgical field.

I use preemptive anesthesia, even in conjunction with sedation and general anesthesia, because of its benefits in diminishing post op bruising. Hope this helps.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Local vs. general anesthesia for facelift procedures

Thanks for your question -

Tumescent fluid is a combination of local numbing medicine (typically lidocaine) with epinephrine (adrenaline) which helps constrict blood vessels to reduce bleeding. It was originally used for liposuction procedures but has also become an important part of face lift surgery.

The term tumescent refers to the feel of the tissue when it was injected with sufficient quantity of the medication to become somewhat firm. This is a bit of a left over description ... most plastic surgeons use super wet or wet tumescent techniques for liposuction at this point (the difference is the volume of fluid with the above drugs injected vs. the amount of tissue extracted.)

In this regard, "tumescent" is a bit inaccurate to describe the local injected for a facelift as there is typically minimal amount of liposuction involved. But the concept it the same, using a combination of lidocaine for analgesia + epinephrine to decrease bleeding.

Most facelifts have some degree of these two medications used even when general anesthesia is used.

I hope this helps.

Tumenscent Anesthesia for facelift

I always do my facelifts under general anesthesia but use local anesthesia in addition to allow the anesthesiologist to keep the amount of general anesthesia to a minimum. Tumescent anesthesia is dilute local anesthesia with another substance that helps reduce the amount of bleeding because vessesls stay constricted. Its the same cocktail used in liposuction. There are many alternatives to lidocaine but I think that Gen is the way to go for a facelift and most would use local anyway.

Tumescent Anesthesia Useful for Face Lift

Tumescent Anesthesia for a facelift is a popular technique that I have used for the past 15 years or more. After local anesthesia is injected in the areas for incision, fluid consisting of a combination of dilute local anesthesia with epinephrine  which helps constrict blood vessels to reduce bleeding during the surgery. The word tumescent refers to the firm feel of the soft tissue when it was injected with this solution. I think it is a great technique.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Tumescent anesthesia is a great option for facelift surgery

Tumescent anesthesia has been a significant important technique developed in the 80s by Dr. Joel Klein. It essentially allows for proper anesthesia to the specific area and overall there have been many studies that have shown it to be effective and perhaps even decreased bruising, infection, hematoma formation, recovery, etc. These studies have been with various other surgical treatments such as liposuction and laser resurfacing. For facelift surgery there are few physicians who do the traditional tumescent technique and most physicians do anesthesia under general for facelift surgery. Nonetheless I do think it is an excellent technique for facelift surgery and essentially I think that you will have to inquire as to whether the physician provides tumescent anesthesia on a regular basis. I’ve seen it in my practice to be beneficial in approximately 90% of my facelift patients.

David Q. Santos, MD
Bellevue Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Tumescent anesthesia facelift

I am not a big fan of tumescence for facelifting. First it may mask bleeders, and second it is more swollen with liquid and may distort the movement of tissues and skin redraping.

Steven Wallach, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Tumescent technique

Tumescent anesthesia evolved from liposuction surgery. It is particularly helpful when operating in the neck, face and scalp. The goal is to use a low concentration of lidocaine with epinephrine diluted in a large volume of saline. This minimizes lidocaine dose and also allows for excellent hydrodissection and hemostasis with the tumescent. I have seen this technique used alone but I use this in concert with sedation, as patients tend to be more comfortable. There are a few books on tumescent anesthesia for the face and I've found these to be pretty helpful.

Corey S. Maas, MD
San Francisco Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Tumescent anesthesia for a facelift--a good option!

Tumescent anesthesia is wide-awake anesthesia--numb, but fully aware.  This is a reasonable option for some people undergoing a facelift.  Most people, though, would prefer to be somewhat sedated (at least not anxious), so we still do this procedure with an anesthesiologist and an IV to keep you comfortable.  You can still be awake, just a bit sleepy.  We would still use tumescent fluid to numb the face and to diminish bleeding and bruising.

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


Tumescent anesthesia is a wonderful tool used in facelifts and liposuction.  Tumescent anesthesia involves the placement of Lidocaine(numbing medication) and adrenaline  beneath the area of operation.  This does a couple of things: (1) It reduces the the amount of bruising after surgery; (2) reduces the amount of bleeding during surgery; (3) It help reduce the amount anesthesia required to keep the patient asleep and (4) It help in pain control after surgery.  It may opinion it should be used routinely in facelift surgery.

Dr. ES

Tumescent Anesthesia Face Lift

Regarding: "Tumescent Anesthesia Face Lift?
I would like to know, does any plastic surgeon have experience with this procedure? Any opinions

Facelifts can be performed under various forms of anesthesia; general or tumescent anesthesia with oral of intravenous sedation. The advantage of the tumescent anesthesia is the numbing solution causes blood vessel constriction making the operation less bloody and the patient does not take on the very small but real risks of general anesthesia. This anesthesia is better for shorter Facelift procedures in patients who are not anxious. (If you hate the sound of surgical instruments close to your face, this technique may not be for you).

Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 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.