Poking/jabbing During Liposuction

please explain as to why i feel some poking/jabbing during the tumescent liposuction. is this a common "incident" while the cannula being pulled back & forth or it is the tumescent was not filled up sufficiently? or perhaps the doctor was not skilled at the procedure?

Doctor Answers 8

What it feels like during liposuction

If you elect to have liposuction while awake with the tumescent technique only then it is normal to have some sensations during the procedure.  You will feel the numbing solution as it is introduced into the tissue and after is sets up you will still feel "movement" of the tissue.

I am always very careful when someone elects to have awake liposuction to ensure that they "get numb at the dentist".  If someone tells me that they have a hard time getting numb at the dentist then they will almost always have  a difficult time becoming numb with the tumescent technique and I try to encourage using a general anesthesia.

If you have a tough time becoming numb then poking and jabbing sensations may be expected.  I have had one or two patients that have had fairly miserable experiences despite using the maximum amount of numbing medicine.

Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 277 reviews

Poking sensations during a liposuction

Liposuction is a safe, popular, and effective way to contour the body.

There are many different ways to perform liposuction. Liposuction may also be done under local anesthesia or regional anesthesia while the patient is awake. If you received this, you may experience some poking sensations during the procedure. This is actually the motion of the cannula treating the area of liposuction. Although you may feel this, you should not feel sharp pain. Some patients do not want to feel the sensation and so choose to receive their liposuction with a deeper level of anesthesia.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 108 reviews

Inadequate Anesthesia in Tumescent Liposuction without sedation

Tumescent Liposuction is only a tool. It has to be used properly and matched to patients who understand its strengths and weaknesses.

In tumescent liposuction a dilute solution of a numbing medication and epinephrine is slowly injected into the fat to numb it as well as to stiffen it and reduce the blood flow through it, making liposuction easier for the surgeon. The degree of numbness depends on the dose of numbing medication, the manner in which it is infused and the patient. If the patient is anxious, mild to deeper sedation helps the patient through this process. While SOME feeling of the tube going through is to be expected, it should NOT be painful.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Liposuction sensations

If you are awake during liposuction, you will definitely feel things move around a bit. I prefer patients to be sedated so that they are comfortable. If my patient is not comfortable I can not do my best work.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Anesthesia necessary for liposuction.


You did not have enough sedation and you did not have enough local anesthesia for your liposuction.  That's the problem.  What you felt does not mean surgery was done badly.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Feeling the motion during Liposuction

If your procedure is done under local, although the numbing fluid reduces the pain sensation, it could be common to feel the vibration or motion of the canula. If you do not want to experience this sensation..then sedation or general anesthesia would be recommended

Barry E. DiBernardo, MD
Montclair Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Tumescent anesthesia works primarily on skin and fat but not the deeper tissues

The tumescent solution really only provides numbness to the skin and fat.

The deeper tissues such as the muscle and skeleton are not truly anesthetised with tumescent technique.

If the cannula is done in areas of fribrous tissue the force of pushing the cannula through the dense tissues can be transmitted to the muscle or skeleton.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

You may feel discomfort but should not feel real pain...

Tumescent liposuction involves a dilute anesthetic solution used to numb up a large area where liposuction will be perform. The process of instilling the solution can be uncomfortable to some people but most people grin and get through it. Everyone has different pain thresholds and some people do better than others. It is like any needle, some people hardly flinch and some people cry in pain. In other words, same needle with a different response. After the area is numbed there is no question that you will feel motion and movement as the liposuction is performed. There is no way to avoid feeling any of these sensations are transmitted (movement) to other areas that are not numb and your body senses this. Very occasionally your surgeon may hit a spot that was not completely numb and you might feel a little poke of discomfort. It should be tolerable for most people. Interestingly there are some people who simply will not tolerate a procedure like this due to fear of pain. Then again, there are some people who cry in pain when stitches are removed. Certainly you describe other reasons possible for discomfort or pain but any experienced liposuction surgeon should be trained in performing a safe, comfortable procedure.

Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 77 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.