Versed Anesthesia for Liposuction

Hello, I'm having lipo done soon and have questions about the Versed anesthesia that will be given. I hear this is a common sedative, though mostly given for relaxation and it's amnesia effect. Why would I need to forget about my surgery or any pain experienced during my procedure? I'm assuming if this is being given, there will be pain. Will I be able to convey this to my doctor during the procedure? If so, why this drug?

Doctor Answers 15

Versed for liposuction

Versed is a good medicine and does tend to make people forget about their surgery, but it is only one of many medicines that will be necessary for you to have a pain free surgical experience.

Versed by itself does not diminish pain, so it does not give a complete anesthetic.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 178 reviews

Versed is often given to help relax patients prior to liposuction

It is normal to be alittle nervous prior to any surgical procedure and versed helps take away the anxiety or nervousness so you can feel more comfortable and relaxed. Enjoy your liposuction experience.

David Hansen, MD
Beverly Hills Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Versed is not anesthesia

As was pointed out in other answers, there is a lot of confusion about anesthesia options for liposuction. Not counting regional anesthesia which is rarely used for liposuction, there are two types of anesthesia for liposuction. They are local anesthesia and general anesthesia.

The technique for local anesthesia in liposuction is often called "tumescent liposuction" but tumescent is really only the term for the local anesthesia technique. General anesthesia is when the entire body is put to sleep and at the least is more expensive, has more potential side effects, and can be argued to carry more risk than local anesthesia.

Tumescent injection is often used even if the patient is under general anesthesia but this is needed for avoiding blood loss and for pain control after the general anesthesia. If local anesthesia techniques can put the area for liposuction to sleep and avoid blood loss, then why use general anesthesia? The answer is that most plastic surgeons are trained this way and prefer it. There are patients, however, who are not comfortable with being wide awake and fully aware of a procedure under local anesthesia.

Oral sedatives and pain medications can help with this but a common alternative is IV sedation which is used for many procedures today. Properly administered and monitored, Versed type IV sedation is quite safe and most patients have little awareness or recollection of the procedure.

However, Versed and IV sedation is not anesthesia and is not a substitute for inadequate local anesthesia. A fully trained and experienced plastic surgeon can usually offer general anesthesia, IV sedation/local, or oral sedation/local anesthesia for liposuction and the patient can choose which they prefer. The actual liposuction is the same or should be the same regardless of the anesthesia/sedation technique.

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Liposuction and versed

Versed is often employed in the regimen of anesthetic drugs during surgery so that patients are relaxed during the procedure and do not remember the procedure.

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

Versed for liposuction

Some surgeons prefer to do liposuction with general anesthesia, while others use only tumescent liposuction. There are pros and cons to each. Some cases of lipo involve no pain at all if the local tumescent anesthesia is injected comfortably but every patient has a different pain and anxiety threshold and many doctors don't want you to feel it or have bad memories about it. Speak to your surgeon and if you don't want the Versed remember it's not a necessity but it can make it more pleasant. Discuss the risks and safety with your surgeon.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Intravenous sedation a popular option for liposuction anesthesia

There is a lot of confusion about anesthesia options for liposuction. Often the use of tumescent anesthesia, in which the patient is fully awake and the numbing fluid is pumped in to the area to be suctioned, is touted as a safer option than general anesthesia, in which the patient is completely out. However, using large volumes of tumescent has risks, and the discussion should include the option of IV sedation, which may actually be the most common. I find that it make the experience much better for the patient unless only a small area or two are being done.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 53 reviews

Versed is a fine sedative if you're having a small liposuction

Versed is a fine sidative. It will 'take the edge off'.

But if you are having a large area of liposuction, you will be alot more comfortable during the procedure if you have some true anesthetic agents, like IV Propofol.

If you are pain free during the procedure, your doctor will be able to do a more thorough job, and you will have a better result.

G. Gregory Gallico III, MD
Boston Plastic Surgeon
3.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Liposuction Anesthesia

Every Plastic surgeon tailors hs operation and its required anesthesia to the duration of the cases, its complexity (IE amount of turning required) and the patient's wishes. Many of of medications used in anesthesia act by decreasing anxiety, the awareness and memory of pain (Versed, Valium, propofol,Ketamine etc). If you have local anesthesia with sedation you should be able to communicate with your anesthesiologist or plastic surgeon but , based on the amount of sedation, you may not be extremely coherent.

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

Most plastic surgeons use light general anesthesia for liposuction.


In New York City, we do not use Versed as a principal anesthetic for liposuction. Most board certified plastic surgeons use general anesthesia, and the local anesthesia in the tumescent fluid that is injected into the fat.

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

Local Anesthesia is for Pain, Versed is for Comfort

Versed is commonly used for sedation as it makes it very comfortable fo the patient. Tumescent anesthesia, the local anesthesia is infiltrated for pain control.

You are correct that Versed is not for pain, and that is why local anesthetic is also used.

Patients on Versed sedation are able to talk and communicate.  It  is much like having a drink.  You will have difficulty remembering the surgery the next day as it does cause amnesia.  Most patients like the effect and it makes the liposuction experience better.

Keith Denkler, MD
Marin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.