Tumescent Liposuction Vs. Liposuction Surgery

What's tumescent liposuction and how's it difft from normal lipo?

Doctor Answers 31

Tumescent liposuction allows for better results and is safer than traditional liposuction

Tumescent liposuction is local anesthesia (not general anesthesia) and is associated with those docs who tend to do more up to date liposuctions. It is safer and usually gives better results since docs who do it tend to use the smaller micro canulas.

Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

9201 W Sunset Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90069

ALL liposuction IS SURGERY, and Well Done liposution always is tumescent

Hi there-

The term "tumescent" simply means that a large amount of medicated fluid is first injected into your fatty tissue layer to improve the safety and effectiveness of the liposuction procedure.

A well trained surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery will ALWAYS use this step, regardless of the machine they prefer to do the surgery.

Make no mistake about it- no matter where it is being done, and no matter what type of anesthesia you have, or who is doing it, liposuction IS surgery, and Smart Lipo, Cool Lipo, Pro Lipo, Body Jet Lipo, VASER lipo- they are ALL liposuction.

So be careful who you let do it on you, and please realize that there are many people who would be happy to take your money and do this surgery on you- but you will only have one chance to have it done safely and correctly.

Don't be fooled by marketing hype- choose your surgeon carefully.


Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

7009 Dr. Phillips Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

Tumescence is a preparation not liposuction

Tumescence is not liposuction at all but a preparation of the fat for removal used in almost all cases. The technigque involves filling the fat with a dilute solution of lidocaine (an anesthetic) and epinephrine (to reduce bleeding and bruising). It also makes passage of the liposuction cannula (the tube that removes the fat) physically easier for the surgeon.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

365 East Paces Ferry Road, NE
Atlanta, GA 30305

Tumescent is "normal" lipo

Tumescent liposuction is the technique to which all other methods are compared. It is safe and effective. First there is injection of fluid into the fat that causes blood vessels to shrink and gives pain relief which minimizes the amount of additional anesthesia required. All of the other techniques use tumescent fluid, and are followed by the suction component of the tumescent liposuction. The only difference is that laser, smart, jet, power, tickle and all of these other tools add a step in between the tumescent and the suction to melt or otherwise break up the fat. This extra step is not necessary to achieve good results, it adds risk, and is often a gimmick. Tumescent is normal lipo.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

525 Oak Centre Drive
San Antonio, TX 78258

Tumescent liposuction

Tumescent liposuction involves applying fluid with medicine for controlling bleeding and decreasing pain in
the area prior to liposuction.  We have learned over the years that this allows safer and easier removal of fat, much less bleeding, and is much more comfortable for you. Most plastic surgeons use this technique for liposuction.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

225 E Sonterra Blvd
San Antonio, TX 78258

Traditional Liposuction vs Tumescent Liposuction

Traditional liposuction represents a historical procedure which has been largely replaced by tumescent liposuction.  The procedures are essentially the same with one exception, before starting the actual liposuction procedure fluid is infused into the subcutaneous tissue when tumescent liposuction is performed.  This fluid is rich in epinephrine and lidocaine.
This approach offers several advantages over traditional liposuction.  The lidocaine minimizes pain in the immediate post-operative period.  The epinephrine causes small blood vessels to constrict, which results in less post-operative bleeding and bruising.  Since there is less bleeding, larger volumes of aspirate can be removed with this technique.
This offers several advantages over traditional liposuction.  These include more aspirate removed, less bleeding, less bruising and better overall results with greater contour improvement.  For these reasons, the vast majority of liposuction cases are performed utilizing tumescent technique.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 142 reviews

8900 West Dodge Road
Omaha, NE 68114

Tumescent Liposuction

Tumescent liposuction when performed according to modern protocols is a safe procedure that uses a dilute form of injectectable anesthetic streamed into the fat compartment prior to suctioning out fat by the use of a vacuum device and small straw like instruments, microcannulas,  to provide a painless experience for most patients.

Compared to standard liposuction with heavy sedation or general anesthesia which also may involve the use of larger cannulas, Tumescent Liposuction is the safest form of liposuction with the quickest and least painful recovery. 

Victor Michalak, MD
Issaquah Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

295 NE Gilman Blvd
Issaquah, WA 98027

Tumescent lipo is the same as “normal” lipo.

The majority of plastic surgeons use tumescent liposuction as their method of choice, so when you hear a reference to liposuction, it’s almost always going to be tumescent liposuction. That being said, if you are considering lipo, definitely ask your surgeon which method he or she will be using so that you’re aware. You should also know that all liposuction is a type of surgery; it seems so commonplace that a lot of patients assume that almost any doctor can effectively perform it. This is incorrect. The best liposuction results are seen from a board certified plastic surgeon who regularly performs the procedure.

Frank Campanile, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

425 S. Cherry St.
Denver, CO 80246

Tumescent Liposuction Vs. Liposuction Surgery. What's the difference?

The word tumescent refers to injecting a specific fluid into the area to be liposuctioned prior to doing the liposuction. This was formulated by Dr. Jeffrey Klein in the 1980's. The idea was and still is brilliant. The fluid infiltrated into the area contains an anesthetic and epinephrine, which constricts the blood vessels. The word tumescent refers to injecting the area until it is tight with the fluid. The result is ,much less bleeding, less bruising, and the ability to perform the procedure under local anesthesia. The recovery time is shorter as well.

Most liposuction  surgeons use a similar formula but may infiltrate less fluid than the amount to make the skin tight. This is called super-wet or just wet. It still results in basically the same effect, but may require a general anesthetic if less then the tumescent formula is used.

The micro cannulas are very small cannulas and are used by most plastic surgeons that I know. This is the choice of the plastic surgeon and unrelated to the tumescent fluid.

All in all, I have found through the years that the primary ingredient in getting a good safe result with liposuction and any procedure for that matter depends upon the skill, experience and caring personality of the surgeon.

E. Ronald Finger, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

410 Mall Blvd
Savannah, GA 31406

Tumescent liposuction vs traditional liposuction

Tumescence is a fluid of dilute pain relieving (lidocaine) and blood vessel constricting (epinephrine) medications.  It is used to decrease pain and minimize blood loss associated with surgery.  It generally decreases recovery time and minimizes collateral damage associated with liposuction.  The fluid is injected under the skin and into the fat that is to be liposuctioned. After waiting several minutes for the medications to work the liposuction is performed.  Larger amounts of fat can be removed more safely than with traditional liposuction.  This is now the standard of care when it comes to liposuction.  I use tumescence fluid for many of my operations not just liposuction.

Chad K. Wheeler, MD
Spokane Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

530 South Cowley Street
Spokane, WA 99202

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.