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 16

Tumescent fluid drainage after liposuction

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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

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

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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 solution disappears over 24-48 hrs but swelling also kicks in at same time.

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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
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

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Time for Tumescent Fluid to Leave the Body

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If you have open drainage (incision sites are 2mm round holes left open to encourage drainage), 90% of the drainage is over in 24 hours. The drainage can persist for up to 3-5 days on average.  If it is closed drainage (all of the incisions are sutured), the fluid is trapped under the skin and can persist for 7-14 days.  

Jeffrey A. Klein, MD
San Juan Capistrano Dermatologic Surgeon

24 hours

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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

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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 44 reviews

Swelling after tumescent liposuction

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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.

Tumescent fluid drainage varies by treatment location

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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

Most of the tumescent fluid leaves body 24-36 hours after Liposuction

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In addition to the tumescent solution placed into your fat before liposuction, like any trauma, liposuction ALSO causes localized swelling by pooling of other fluid into the liposuctioned area.

Much of the original tumescent fluid is either vacuumed at the time of liposuction or is absorbed by the body within 24-36 hours after the liposuction. However, the swelling caused by fluid seepage caused by the trauma of liposuction continues to be formed until the inflammation stops and the tissues become normal in 2-3 months.

One way to reduce fluid accumulation after liposuction is to either leave the liposuction access holes open so fluid can just run out OR to put in temporary suction drains to remove a lot of this fluid quicker. You and your surgeon can decide on what would be the best for you.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Count on 2 to 3 days after liposuction for the fluid to go away

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There are normal fluid shifts with any surgery, even if you did not have tumescent fluid injected. We tend to leave the small openings unsutured. That way the fluid drips out through those openings and your body has less to absorb. You will have some residual swelling for up to 8 weeks but the fluid per se should be gone within 72 hours.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 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.