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Tumescent Liposuction
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Tumescent Liposuction
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Body re sculpting through removing stubborn fat deposits from localized areas of the body

Variations of technique

Super-wet technique, suction-assisted liposuction (SAL), power-assisted liposuction (PAL), ultra-sound assisted liposuction (UAL)

Length of Surgery

Varies, on average 1-2 hours per area treated


In many cases, outpatient, however inpatient procedure in extreme surgical cases


Local, regional, general

Back to work in…

3-21 days

Back to the gym in…

3-8 weeks


National average: $2,982 per area

Treatment Frequency

Once so long as new weight is maintained


Infection, fat or blood clots, excessive fluid loss, numbness, anesthesia complications

Duration of results

Initial noticeable improvement, continued improvement for 6 months as post-surgical swelling decreases.

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Click links below for detail.

Tumescent Liposuction Surgery Costs*

Liposuction prices will fluctuate wildly depending on the type of liposuction procedure being performed and the part of the body that will be treated. Generally, liposuction costs are higher for surgeries performed on men than women, because there is a larger presence of fibrous fat found in males than females. Plastic surgeons will charge liposuction prices for operations that take longer. As a result, patients pay higher liposuction costs if a large amount of fat is being eliminated from their bodies. Different procedure types of liposuction differ from each other based on equipment that it used during the procedure. Also liposuction procedures that utilize newer equipment will have higher liposuction costs.

Liposuction prices can vary depending on where the procedure is performed, and which clinic the candidates choose. Some clinics charge less than others. Liposuction costs for one procedure in a single area can cost $800, but this sum can be exceeded.

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons quoted the national average for Tumescent Liposuction Surgery is approximately $2,224. Typical liposuction prices are; 1,800 U.S. dollars for area (arms, chin, back, thighs, and abdomen) generally, if more than 4 areas are treated, patients will get a discount, (subject to clinic and surgeons agreement).

Most plastic surgeons and surgical clinics offer flexible payment and finance options, some of which allow staggered payments or loans from VARIOUS FINANCING COMPANIES. If you are considering having plastic surgery but want to explore more about the liposuction financing options available before you make your decision, PLEASE CLICK HERE, you can discuss your financial options with your liposuction doctor, and find out if there are any loans of flexi-payment plans that will allow you to achieve the body of your dreams.

To find out more about liposuction finance options available please click here.

Am I a candidate for Tumescent Liposuction Surgery?

A good candidate for tumescent liposuction should have realistic expectations about the results of this procedure.

An ideal candidate:
  1. Is close to their ideal body weight (within 30%)
  2. Wants to remove specific areas of fat that are diet- and exercise-resistant (fat pockets in the abdomen, arms, knees, inner thighs, love handles, neck, outer thighs
  3. Weight has been stable for 6 months or more
  4. Has good skin tone and elasticity
  5. Does not have loose or saggy skin
  6. Does not have stretch marks
  7. Is emotionally stable
  8. Understands the risks of surgery (see our section on Tumescent Liposuction Side Effects and Risks)

Patients planning to have large volume liposuction, which involves the removal of more than 5 liters (5,000 cc's; about 11 pounds) of fat and fluid may have an overnight stay at the hospital.

You'll want to discuss your medical history thoroughly with your physician before you choose to undergo surgery.

What is Tumescent Liposuction Surgical Procedure?

Tumescent liposuction refers to a technique that uses large volumes of very dilute local anesthesia that is injected into the fat causing the targeted areas to become tumescent, or swollen and firm. Local anesthesia is widely regarded as the safest form of anesthesia. Because local anesthesia persists for many hours there is limited need for pain medications after surgery.

Liposuction is one of the most commonly performed plastic procedures in the United States. It is also referred to as liposculpture, lipoplasty, and tumescent suction lipectomy,. A classic candidate seeking tumescent liposuction is physically fit and eats well-balanced meals but is unable to reduce a fatty deposit that is well localized and often seems to involve a genetic susceptibility.

There are several types of liposuction procedures available, all of which use a wand-like instrument called a cannula to remove unwanted fat. Tumescent liposuction involves the injection if a large amount of anesthetic into the area being treated; the wet and super-wet techniques are variations of this type of liposuction. In ultrasonic assisted lipoplasty (UAL), sound waves are used to liquefy the fat before it is removed. LipoSelection uses the same concept without disturbing the surrounding tissue. Power assisted liposuction (PAL) employs a motor-powered cannula, which allows the surgeon to use smaller movements and make the experience more comfortable for the patient.

The tumescent technique has been one of the most important advancements in liposuction surgery since it was introduced in the US in the early 1980s. This technique produces smoother results while greatly decreasing risk, expense and postoperative discomfort. This surgery is performed as a one-day outpatient procedure.

With the tumescent liposuction technique, the doctor injects a solution into the fatty tissue that anesthetizes the area. It causes the area to become firm and swollen (tumescent), which enables the surgeon to extract fat more accurately and uniformly, and thereby produce smoother results. A thin tube (cannula) is inserted through a tiny incision in an inconspicuous location. The fat is removed through this tube with the assistance of a high pressure vacuum.

Patients do not need general anesthesia. The majorities of patients receive no sedation or only minor sedation to help them relax and are completely comfortable and awake during surgery. Post operative discomfort is significantly reduced since the local anesthesia is effective for 8-16 hours after surgery.

The suction tubes used in this technique are very thin and minimize the amount of trauma produced. The incisions usually heal nicely with few if any sutures. There is minimal scarring.

After surgery patients can get up and walk out of the office themselves, and are usually back to their regular routine in a couple of days.

Body Areas That Can Be Treated by Tumescent Liposuction includes:

  1. Neck and Jowls.
  2. Arms.
  3. Abdomen.
  4. Buttocks.
  5. Hips.
  6. Inner and Outer Thighs (saddle bags or riding breeches on women.
  7. Knees.
  8. Legs.
  9. Flanks (love handles on men).
  10. Enlarged Male Breasts (gynaecomastia).


Liposuction can also be used in the treatment of a number of medical conditions, as well as aid in the performance of other, non-plastic surgical procedures.

Benefits of Tumescent Liposuction

Compared to other surgical methods, tumescent liposuction provides the following advantages:

  1. Fewer skin irregularities.
  2. Less bleeding.
  3. Reduced bruising.
  4. Faster recovery.


Variations on the Tumescent Liposuction


  1. Tumescent liposuction and the wet and super-wet techniques are now used by surgeons in place of the dry technique, which fell from favor due to the excessive blood loss that resulted in some cases, as well as the fact that the procedure required hospitalization. The super-wet technique is currently used more often than the wet technique, and tumescent liposuction continues to be a popular choice. Whether you chose wet, super-wet, or tumescent liposuction will depend on a number of factors, including how many areas you wish to have treated.
Wet Technique
  1. Wet liposuction simply refers to the use of fluid injection prior to liposuction treatment. To prepare for wet liposuction, the surgeon administers approximately 100 milliliters of local anesthesia containing epinephrine directly into the tissue. This results in less blood loss during the procedure and reduces patient discomfort after surgery.
Super Wet Technique
  1. The super wet technique is similar to tumescent liposuction, except that it uses a solution containing less of the anesthetics lidocaine and epinephrine. In their place, intravenous sedation or general anesthetic is used (because the area being treated does not become fully anesthetized by the solution alone). Not using an injected local anesthetic means that the doctor does not have to wait for any swelling to go down. The surgery usually takes no longer than two hours, and the patient can opt to have other procedures performed while the general anesthetic is in effect.
  2. Tumescent liposuction can be done on more than one area at the same time if the amount of fat removed does not exceed the recommended amount within the limits of safety.
  3. Some patients find tumescent liposuction to be a good incentive for weight loss, but it is not a remedy for obesity.


Preparing for Liposuction Surgery

Once you have located a reputable board certified plastic surgeon at Perfect Yourself, you will have an initial consultation with your liposuction surgeon. During you consultation you will be evaluated for your health, and examined to assess the condition of your skin. This initial consultation also serves you with an ideal moment to discuss the options that are best for you. You will discuss with your surgeon the body contouring methods that are appropriate for your particular situation, the effectiveness and safety of the procedure, and your expectations will be discussed in detail.

Once you have decided to undergo tumescent liposuction, your plastic surgeon will give you the necessary instructions that you will need to prepare for the surgery.

During your initial consultation you should bring to your surgeons attention any knowledge of your allergies, medications and previous surgeries.

Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for your tumescent liposuction procedure will be given to you after the health history and physical are complete.

Instructions will be given that may include guidelines regarding your diet, alcohol intake, smoking and which medications to take and avoid.

You should also make arrangements ahead of time for someone to drive you to and from your procedure and to assist you with your daily activities during your recovery period.

Preparing for your Tumescent Liposuction Procedure
  1. Research your procedure thoroughly. Understanding it will help calm your anxieties and accelerate your recovery.
  2. Stop taking all medicines (such as aspirin) that can interfere with clotting two weeks prior to your surgery. Check with your surgeon for specific medications.
  3. Make sure you have got everything you may need after surgery, including medications. You don't want to have to make trips to the store during your initial recovery, unless you have assistance.
  4. Try not to shave any hairs near the surgical site, for 24 hours or longer, before the surgery. Shaving over the liposuction region before surgery can cause ingrown hairs after the surgery.
  5. Don't eat or drink after midnight the night before the procedure, unless otherwise instructed.
  6. Be sure to tell your doctor about every medicine you are allergic to.

Tumescent Liposuction Surgery Procedure Steps

Liposuction surgery is always performed under anesthetic, usually general anesthetic, but occasionally local or regional is used if only a small localized area is being treated. A Conventional Liposuction treatment or a variation of it such as Tumescent Liposuction will usually take 1-2 hours per area treated, but longer procedures such as Large Volume Liposuction can take much longer, and may even need to be carried out in several procedures. Make sure you consult your surgeon on how long your individual Liposuction treatment is likely to take.

Tumescent Liposuction Procedure Steps

Step 1 Anesthesia


  1. Medications are administered for your comfort during the surgical procedures. The choices include intravenous sedation and general anesthesia. Large volumes of a very dilute anesthetic solution are injected to swell up or tumesce the areas to be treated. The solution also contains epinephrine, which constricts blood vessels, thus greatly reducing bleeding and bruising. Sodium bicarbonate is added to reduce the stinging sensation associated with the anesthetic, lidocaine, and a small amount of cortisone is used to reduce post-operative inflammation.
Step 2 The Incision
  1. Tumescent Liposuction is performed through small, inconspicuous incisions.
  2. First, sterile liquid solution is infused to reduce bleeding and trauma. Then a thin hollow tube, or cannula, is inserted through these incisions to loosen excess fat using a controlled back and forth motion.
  3. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum or syringe attached to the cannula. A high-pressure suction machine is strategically inserted into the fatty layer through tiny incisions. Using to and fro movements, the fat is loosened and drawn through the tube into a container.

The tumescent technique enables liposuction surgeons to remove large amounts of fat more uniformly with fewer skin irregularities and less bruising than with older techniques. The tumescent technique permits recovery time to be kept to a minimum.

Step 3 See the results
  1. The local anesthetic effect lasts for 12-18 hours, thus greatly minimizing post-operative discomfort. Patients are alert and able to function without nausea or other unpleasant effects often experienced after a general anesthetic. Mild post-operative pain medication may be required.
  2. Your improved body contour will be apparent when the swelling and fluid retention commonly experienced following liposuction subside.
  3. With continued practices of healthy diet and fitness, the loss of excess fatty tissue should be permanently maintained. However, substantial weight gain can alter an otherwise permanent result.

Tumescent Liposuction Recovery and Healing

Once your procedure is complete, your tumescent liposuction surgeon will explain the recovery and healing process to you.

Depending upon the amount of fat removed and the location of the surgery (doctor's office, surgical center, hospital), you may leave the doctor's office soon after the surgery or you may spend the night in the surgical center or hospital. Ask your doctor how long it will be before you should be able to return to your normal level of activity or if you will need to miss work after liposuction.

You will wear special tight garments to keep your skin compressed after the liposuction procedure. Wearing a compression garment after Liposuction is essential to improve blood circulation, minimize swelling after the procedure, flush the body out of potentially harmful fluids, accelerate the healing process, and allow you to return to daily routines sooner. A compression garment also provides support to surgical areas for more comfort and helps the skin fit better to its new contours. Your surgeon will tell you how long to wear these, usually for weeks. Some surgeons provide these garments but others will tell you where to purchase them before your surgery.

When the anesthesia wears off, you may have some pain. If the pain is extreme, you should contact your surgeon.

Liposuction recovery times vary from person to person, however, you should be able to return to work in 3-21 days, depending on the extremity of your individual surgery, and normal activities including strenuous exercise can be resumed within 4 to 6 weeks.

Your liposuction surgeon will also give you instructions on:
  1. How to care for the surgical site,
  2. Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing
  3. How to reduce the potential for infection
  4. Details of follow up consultations to review your tumescent liposuction procedure

Liposuction Side Effects & Surgery Risks

As with any kind of surgery, there are risks and limitations to liposuction procedures.

Some patients experience Liposuction side effects such as post-surgical dimpling, lumpiness, numbness, scarring or discoloration in the treated area, and it may be possible that follow-up surgery is required.

Tumescent liposuction is a remarkably safe procedure with few significant side effects. Extensive clinical studies by medical specialists have also demonstrated the safety and efficacy of tumescent liposuction.
Serious complications such as blood clots, infection or allergic reactions are extremely rare in tumescent liposuction procedures.

Certain minor side effects are to be expected. Bruising varies from person to person, but it is usually minor and resolves within 5 10 days.

Tumescent liposuction side effects include: swelling, tenderness and temporary numbness may also occur, but, once again, are usually short-lived. Although irregularities of the skin are possible following liposuction, this side effect is minimized by the tumescent technique.

Questions to Ask a Surgeon about Tumescent Liposuction Surgery

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Tumescent Liposuction Surgery; here is an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself Surgeon.

  1. Am I a good candidate for Tumescent Liposuction surgery?
  2. Are my described expectations realistic?
  3. Where is the surgery performed?
  4. How long will the procedure take?
  5. What kind of anesthesia is used?
  6. What is your experience in performing Tumescent Liposuction surgery?
  7. Can I see your qualifications?
  8. Ask to see before and after photos of recent Tumescent Liposuction surgeries
  9. Ask for and follow up on patient references (these can be invaluable to finding out what your surgeon is really like and the level of customer satisfaction he/she has received in the past)
  10. What percentages of your Liposuction patients have had significant post-surgical complications? (surgeons should disclose this information to you)
  11. Who will be assisting my Tumescent Liposuction surgery
  12. Can I see their qualifications?
  13. How much will my Tumescent Liposuction surgery cost?
  14. Do you offer patient financing? (Flexible payment schemes for your surgery)
  15. Will you repeat/correct procedures if the agreed goals are not met? If this is the case, will I be charged again?
  16. Ask to observe the exact procedure you are considering before you decided to have surgery if you are unsure (this could be on videotape or in real life).
  17. What is the recovery and healing period for Tumescent Liposuction surgery?
  18. When can I resume full normal activity?
  19. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, suspended?

Surgeon Checklist

Surgeon Checklist

Knowledge is power so arm yourself with the facts before making any decision about Tumescent Liposuction procedures; click here for an essential check list to help you find the right Perfect Yourself plastic surgeon.

Most popular procedures on Perfect Yourself: liposuction, breast augmentation, face lifts, rhinoplasty, tummy tucks
Be sure to also visit our Expert Advice page where you can find great questions from real visitors, Answered by real plastic surgeons, cosmetic dentists, and skin rejuvenation specialists.