What is Microtumescent Liposuction and Does It Work?

Doctor Answers 12

Microtumescent liposuction- what is it?

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I agree with my colleagues and am puzzled about the term.

Most surgeons who perform revisional liposuction cases use microliposuction for very small irregularities; perhaps that is that you are referring to.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 195 reviews

MIcrotumescent Liposuction Is A Marketing Concept Not a Surgical Procedure

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Microtumescent liposuction is new term that is not one known in the plastic surgery or liposuction literature. I could see it being used in the context of 'microliposuction' or just treating areas with small cannulas. But when combined with the term tumescent implies an entity that does not exist. There is no such thing as just putting in a miniature or microamount of tumescent solution to perform liposuction. At the very least, it is not a new or better method liposuction. It sounds like a marketing term to imply a procedure that is less invasive to patients.

Microtumescent is a micro-gimmick

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Liposuction is an area of plastic surgery that continually has new marketing gimmicks aimed to attract patients with techniques that are either renamed with a fancy name or provide little benefit. 

For best results, be sure to work with a Board-Certified plastic surgeon and ASAPS member who has a great deal of experience with liposuction. There are several techniques out there, but such a surgeon will help you navigate the authentic ones and help you choose the option that is best for you and your goals.


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Microtumescent Liposuction

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Never heard of that name before. But as you can see neither have most of the other posters. Makes me wonder if this is a sales gimmick? Just be careful out there. Good luck.

Microtumescent liposuction is a gimmick

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To the best of my knowledge, I have never heard of this procedure. It sounds like a made up marketing term to try and lure patients into having a procedure with no verifiable results. I would caution you about proceeding and instead schedule a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon. He/ she can evaluate you and determine what procedure will best give you the results you are trying to achieve. 

David A. Robinson, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

"Micro-Tumescent" liposuction can be nothing but a marketing term...

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Hi there-

It sounds like you are not dealing with a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon....

In recent years, as non-plastic surgeons have begin trying to perform liposuction, we have seen an explosion in marginally ethical (or blatantly unethical) behavior in efforts to attract patients.

Your question seems a good example- in which cute names are given to procedures in existence for many years in order to make it look like the provider is some kid of a liposuction pioneer....

My question to you and other patients is this...

If this doctor has demonstrated a lack of ethics to you already by:

  1. abandoning his/her training in ophthalmology/gynecology/urology and
  2. claiming expertise in liposuction, and by
  3. aggressively selling something to you that does NOT truly represent a distinct procedure ("micro-tumescent" technique, I guarantee you, is a term that would make most responsible and Board Certified Plastic Surgeons cringe),

Then what do you suppose is to keep them from compromising their ethics in other ways- when decisions that may make a difference to your safety and long term satisfaction are concerned?

The fact is that I see MANY women with terrible and permanent contour deformities after having liposuction done by some eye doctor or gynecologist somewhere. In most cases they did so to save money, or because the doctor told them he/she was good at it. But they knew they were taking a risk not seeing a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.

Please read this:

Liposuction Devices and Techniques... Is one really better than another?

Tumescent liposuction... VASER lipo..... SmartLipo.....Cool lipo... pro lipo....Slim lipo... Body Jet lipo.... ?????

What does this all mean? If I don't get Smart lipo does that mean I'm dumb? If my surgeon recommends Slim lipo does that mean he/she isn't a "Pro"? It truly is a ridiculous situation we have come to with regard to liposuction and the number of people trying to cash in on America's desire to be rid of its collective fat.

In well motivated patients, body contour improvement can be a very healthy endeavor, but how is an otherwise intelligent and well-adjusted person to know the difference between a responsible provider of aesthetic services offering them safe options for help with their body contour and a poorly trained and inexperienced provider more interested in their wallet than in their outcome and safety?

It is first important to realize that all of these devices will require you to undergo a liposuction procedure. The only difference is the approach to the treatment of the fat prior to its removal.

Because they all involve liposuction, and this is in fact a surgical procedure, it is very important that you "do your homework" and find a surgeon certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery who has the years of training in liposuction necessary to give you the safe experience and superior outcome you deserve and desire.

Behind the amazing number of machines now available to remove your fat, there has followed an army of their sales representatives and an equally impressive number of providers marketing themselves as "liposuction experts".

What has made them "liposuction experts"? In almost all cases, a few days or weekends training with the salesman for the device or with someone more experienced in the procedure. It is their promise that if you have the device in their possession brought to bear on your behalf, your fat will be gone, your skin will miraculously shrink away, you won't need any anesthesia because the device allows painless removal of the fat, and it can be done on your lunch hour. The only thing I am surprised by at this point is that they don't promise you'll get rich and be more sexually alluring after the procedure too.

Selling the particular device to patients is not unlike someone saying to you that because they will give you access to Tony Stewart's racing car that you will be able to win this weekend's race and make a million dollars. Tony Stewart wins races because he is a great racing car driver AND he has a great car....This is no different...

Getting the best outcome from a body contouring procedure depends most on finding a well-qualified and experienced surgeon, and much less on the device used.

Most of these people are so aggressive in their marketing of these questionable devices because they are, in fact, not trained plastic surgeons but rather are either not physicians at all, or they are doctors with core training which would not have prepared them to do liposuction. Many have read recently about a death in my home state of Florida after a healthy 40ish year old mother had liposuction performed be a rehabilitation medicine doctor. Amazingly, I know of eye doctors (!!) doing liposuction as well- and yes, they market themselves as "liposuction experts".

The particular device used can affect the overall experience, however.

Despite the claims of the manufacturer and the practitioners who plunked down the large sum the device costs, Smartlipo has never been proven to shrink skin better than tumescent liposuction. SmartLipo, SlimLipo, Prolipo, and Coolipo all use a laser to destroy the fat cells, allowing them to be removed by liposuction. My problem with these is that, first of all, as a scientist and doctor I am offended when false claims of benefit are made, and that because the lasers will burn whatever you point them at, I worry that your nerves, blood vessels, muscles, and skin may be injured by the laser. In fact, I see at least one patient every month with severe contour deformities and injuries after being treated with one of these devices by a local "liposuction expert".

Bottom line (and in my opinion)- there is no benefit to these devices, they are expensive (meaning that the cost to you, the patient, will be higher as well), and the risks are higher.

Tumescent liposuction is the gold standard to which all other techniques must be compared. It has been proven to be safe and effective over many years (provided that it is performed by a well-trained surgeon). It involves the injection of a fluid into the fatty tissue layer that causes blood vessels to shrink and the fat to expand, making it easier to remove and lowering the risk of a complication.

VASER lipo involves an additional step, in which the fat (after injection of fluid but before suction is applied) is treated with ultrasound energy. Unlike the laser filaments used in SmartLipo and the other devices mentioned above, the VASER probe is blunt and the ultrasound energy it uses is much more specific for fat, so that the risk of injury to the blood vessels and nerves, as well as the muscles and skin are much lower. This is seen in the patient experience of reduced swelling and bruising.

Each time a new (revolutionary!) liposuction machine comes out, I think the most important questions to ask are not "Does it work?", but rather, "Does it work better than what is already available, is it less expensive (not more), and is it safer than what is already available?"

The VASER (in my opinion) passes this test, while the laser based devices do not.

Having said all of that, I would emphasize that it is the education, training, experience, and skill of the surgeon at the end of the liposuction device that will make the greatest difference in your outcome and safety. There is not substitute for the years of training Board Certified Plastic Surgeons receive in liposuction, directly supervised by other Board Certified Plastic Surgeons. A well trained and Board Certified Plastic Surgeon would be more than capable of achieving a better outcome through tumescent liposuction than any eye doctor with a Water Jet. As in the analogy of Tony Stewart above- a great professional with a great tool (like the VASER) would only make those results and their safety even greater.

Please know that I have no financial relationship with any of these companies and have personally tried each of the discussed technologies myself on patients.

Tumescent Liposuction

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This is JUNK medicine practiced at its best.

There is no such thing as MICROTUMESCENT except in the mind of the Dr. who wants to part you from your money.

See a real Plastic Surgeon.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Microtumescent liposuction

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Terminology can be created as a marketing aspect for an individual practice but it may only confuse people when trying to compare procedures. Does this term indicate the doctor uses a small amount of local anesthetic? If so it defeats the purpose and safety of tumescent liposuction which refers to a large volume of a dilute anesthetic. Does it refer to the microcannulae, the small hollow rods that are used to vacuum out the fat? Does it refer to doing only a very small area of the body? As this is not a standardized term, you should have this doctor clarify it for you. Is it a board certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist?

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

No such thing as microtumescent liposuction that I am aware of

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I suspect that you may be referring to tumescent technique liposuction with micro cannulas. The procedure involves using local anesthesia (not general anesthesia) with infiltrating or tumescing the fat layer and then aspirating the fat with the microcannulas which are tiny instruments to get the smoothest results with the optimal skin contracture available.

It is alittle more expensive and a lot more time consuming for the doc but the results are amazing and so worth it. I hope that is what you are asking about.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

"microtumescent" Liposuction

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I suspect you are NOT dealing with a Plastic surgeon. Since every Plastic surgeon uses tumescent solution none of us find it to be a differentiating factor in distinguishing ourselves from others. Using smaller amounts of tumescent solution as a marketing tool is pathetic as well. I would keep on looking.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

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.