The most popular form of liposuction and the most common cosmetic procedure in the U.S. is tumescent liposuction, which is more effective, safer, less painful and has a quicker recovery time than traditional liposuction. It is performed as an outpatient procedure and does not require general anesthesia.

Tumescent liposuction can safely remove fat from almost all parts of the body, including the face, neck, chin, breast, stomach, hips, flanks, back, inner and outer thighs, buttocks, knees, calves and ankles. It is used to remove lipomas, or benign fatty tumors, and to treat excessive underarm sweating and enlarged male and female breasts.

The basic steps are the same with all liposuction procedures. Incisions are made in the skin, and fat is suctioned out from beneath the skin using a thin tube known as a cannula. Liposuction techniques differ in two main ways — the amount of wetting solution used to dilute the fat and the method used to break up the fat cells, such a laser or sound waves. What distinguishes tumescent liposuction from other forms of the procedure is that it uses the largest amount of wetting solution.

The Tumescent Solution

Tumescent Liposuction is also known as the Wet Lipo, where wetting solutions are infused into the fatty layer of your skin before the fat is vacuumed out. Before wetting solutions came along, surgeons went in dry, and the result was bleeding and bruising.

The tumescent solution contains salt water, adrenaline and a local anesthetic. The adrenaline shrinks blood vessels to minimize blood loss in the fat to be extracted. This infusion causes the skin to become swollen and firm. The tumescent technique uses more fluid than other available liposuction methods, infusing two to six times as much fluid as the volume of the fat to be removed.

What is Tumescent Liposuction?

Tumescent Liposuction reshapes and slims excess fat deposits utilizing the super-wet and traditional liposuction techniques.

Tumescent liposuction involves injecting a mixture of saline solution, lidocaine and epinephrine into areas of the body where fat is to be removed. The swollen, liquid filled tissues become firm and easy to control. The excess fat is then sucked out of the body through a stainless tube, called the cannula.

Because the patient remains awake during the procedure, the surgeon may ask him/her to move to better sculpting positions, helping to improve results.

Liposuction may be performed on one, or several areas of the body. It can also be performed in conjunction with other plastic surgery procedures.

The procedure is popular for both men and women.

Surgery Length: 45 mins – 4 hours
Anesthesia: Local anesthesia
Hospital Stay:
Stay in Thailand:
Recovery: 5-7 days
Procedure Cost:

What Tumescent Liposuction Can Do

Tumescent liposuction, like other liposuction techniques, slims and reshapes specific areas of the body by removing excess fat deposits, improving your body contours and proportion, and ultimately enhancing your self-image.

Tumescent liposuction techniques may be used to reduce localized fat deposits of the:

  • Thighs
  • Hips and buttocks
  • Abdomen and waist
  • Upper arms
  • Back
  • Inner knee
  • Chest area
  • Cheeks, chin and neck

The best results are obtained in body areas where there is reasonable muscle tone, good skin elasticity, and fat is not excessive.

What it won’t do: All liposuction techniques are designed for removing localized fat deposits that do not respond to diet or exercise, not as a substitute for weight loss. It is also not an effective treatment for cellulite or loose saggy skin.

Best Candidates for Tumescent Liposuction

Ideal candidates for liposuction are:

  • Adults within 30% of their ideal weight who have firm, elastic skin and good muscle tone
  • Healthy individuals who do not have a life-threatening illness or medical conditions that can impair healing
  • Non-smokers
  • Individuals with a positive outlook and specific goals in mind for body contouring

Is Tumescent Liposuction Right for Me?

If you are bothered by excess fat deposits – located anywhere on your body – that don’t respond to diet or exercise, liposuction may be right for you. Tumescent liposuction may offer a quicker recovery period compared with traditional liposuction.

Preparing for Tumescent Liposuction

The success and safety of your liposuction procedure depends very much on your complete candidness during your consultation. You’ll be asked a number of questions about your health, desires and lifestyle.

Prior to surgery, you may be asked to:

  • Get lab testing or a medical evaluation
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications
  • Stop smoking well in advance of surgery
  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements as they can increase bleeding

Special instructions you receive will cover:

  • What to do on the day of surgery
  • The use of anesthesia during your liposuction
  • Post-operative care and follow-up

Your plastic surgeon will also discuss where your procedure will be performed. Tumescent liposuction may be performed in an accredited office-based surgical center, outpatient or ambulatory surgical center, or a hospital.

If your liposuction procedure involves general anesthesia, be sure to arrange for someone to drive you to and from surgery and to stay with you for at least the first night following surgery

Tumescent Liposuction Surgery Overview


The anesthesia is administered using the super wet technique. This involves injecting a mixture of saline solution, lidocaine and epinephrine into the fatty deposits. The swollen tissues make it much easier for the surgeon to control, break down the fat and re-sculpt the body.

The Incision

Like traditional liposuction, tumescent liposuction fat removal is carried out using a cannula, a thin stainless steel suction tube.

The cannula may be inserted into several different incisions in the body. The dislodged fat is then suctioned out of the body using a surgical vacuum attached to the cannula.

Liposuction Surgery Results

Your improved body contour will be apparent when the swelling and fluid retention commonly experienced following liposuction subside. This usually takes around 10 – 30 days.

Improvements will continue for up to one year.

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.

Special note: Tumescent liposuction can be repeated. There is a limit to the amount of fat which can be removed during any one session of tumescent liposuction. In some instances the patient may want to have more removed at another time. If someone has several areas to treat, sometimes it is better to treat them at separate times.

Will There be Scars?

There will be small scars from the incisions made to insert the cannula. These will vary in number depending on how sites fat is removed from. The scars are usually very inconspicuous and measure around

Tumescent Liposuction Surgery Recovery

With tumescent liposuction there is less bleeding and post operative swelling. This allows most patients to get back on the feet again the next day.

You will be given a compression garment or elastic bandages to cover the surgical site and compress the skin to your new body contours.

While some may be back on their feet the next day, it will take around 5-7 days for you to feel fully functional. You should also refrain from strenuous activity for at least two weeks.

You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for the surgical site(s), medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the potential for infection, specific concerns to look for at the surgical site or in your general health, and when to follow up with your plastic surgeon.

Be sure to ask your plastic surgeon specific questions about what you can expect during your individual recovery period:

  • Where will I be taken after my surgery is complete?
  • What medication will I be given or prescribed after surgery?
  • Will I have dressings/bandages after surgery?
  • When will they be removed?
  • Are stitches removed? When?
  • When can I resume normal activity and exercise?
  • When do I return for follow-up care?

When You Return Home

If you experience shortness of breath, chest pains, or unusual heart beats, seek medical attention immediately. Should any of these complications occur, you may require hospitalization and additional treatment.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected, there is no guarantee. In some situations, it may not be possible to achieve optimal results with a single surgical procedure and another surgery may be necessary.

Following your physician’s instructions is key to the success of your surgery. It is important that the surgical incisions are not subjected to excessive force, swelling, abrasion, or motion during the time of healing. Your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to care for yourself.

Possible Risks of Tumescent Liposuction Surgery

The decision to have liposuction is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

Your plastic surgeon and/or staff will explain in detail the risks associated with surgery. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks or potential complications.

Although tumescent liposuction patients typically see fewer skin irregularities, less bleeding, and reduced bruising, the possible risks are similar to those of the traditional liposuction procedure. These risks include:

  • Uneven contours
  • Rippling or loose skin
  • Skin or nerve damage
  • Irregular pigmentation
  • Infection
  • Fat clots
  • Blood clots
  • Excessive fluid loss or fluid accumulation
  • Unfavorable scarring
  • Anesthesia risks
  • Bleeding (hematoma)
  • Change in skin sensation
  • Skin discoloration or swelling
  • Asymmetry
  • Pain, which may persist
  • Damage to deeper structures such as nerves, blood vessels, muscles, lungs, and abdominal organs
  • Poor wound healing
  • Persistent swelling in the legs
  • Deep vein thrombosis, cardiac and pulmonary complications
  • Possibility of revisional surgery

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all your questions directly with your plastic surgeon.

Note: It’s very important to ask your plastic surgeon questions about your liposuction procedure. It’s natural to feel some anxiety, whether it’s excitement for your anticipated new look or a bit of preoperative stress. Don’t be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

Tumescent Liposuction Terms and Definitions

  • Breast reduction: Also known as reduction mammaplasty, reduction of breast size by surgery.
  • Cannula: A thin, hollow tube used during liposuction to loosen excess fat.
  • Facelift: A surgical procedure, also known as rhytidectomy, to reduce sagging of the mid-face, jowls and neck.
  • General anesthesia: Drugs and/or gases used during an operation to relieve pain and alter consciousness.
  • Hematoma: Blood pooling beneath the skin.
  • Intravenous sedation: Sedatives administered by injection into a vein to help you relax.
  • Lipoplasty: Another term for liposuction. Liposuction: Also called lipoplasty or suction lipectomy, this procedure vacuums out fat from beneath the skin’s surface to reduce fullness.
  • Local anesthesia: A drug injected directly to the site of an incision during an operation to relieve pain.
  • Suction lipectomy: Another term for liposuction.
  • Sutures: Stitches used by surgeons to hold skin and tissue together.
  • Tumescent or super-wet liposuction: Involves an infusion of saline solution with adrenaline and possibly anesthetic prior to removal of excess fat.
  • Tummy tuck: A surgical procedure, also known as abdominoplasty, to correct the apron of excess skin hanging over your abdomen.

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