What is the Difference between Liposuction and Tumescent Liposuction?

Tumescent Liposuction vs. Standard Liposuction

Overall, both standard and tumescent liposuction procedures have the same end goal of removing unwanted fat cells that don’t respond to conventional methods of diet and exercise.

Liposuction is a common cosmetic surgery designed to remove excess fat and shape body contours. As an invasive procedure using incisions, most types are performed with general anesthesia.

Tumescent liposuction, however, is a type of liposuction that can sometimes be performed without the general anesthesia that surgeries of this nature often require. This procedure, also called “local liposuction,” uses an infusion of adrenaline, saline, and local anesthesia prior to fat removal. The amount of saline solution injected is about two to three times larger than the volume of fat and liquid that is removed.

One concern with traditional liposuction is the increased risk of significant side effects from general anesthesia, as well as other risks like bleeding.

The idea behind tumescent liposuction is that it may be a safer alternative while still providing results. The other main advantage of this procedure is that it may avoid large shifts in body fluids that sometimes occur after removing a large volume of fat, which may result in low blood pressure.

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However, as tumescent liposuction is still a major surgery, this doesn’t mean the procedure is without risk.

Tumescent liposuction may be an alternative to more extensive surgeries of this type if you’re looking for a smaller amount of fat removal. On average, the tumescent method removes about 3 to 5 liters of fat compared with 8 to 10 liters with traditional liposuction. This also shortens the recovery time. Most people can generally tolerate a procedure that removes up to 3 liters of fat and liquid.

This type of cosmetic surgery is called “tumescent” because of the way the saline infusion makes the skin swell, purportedly increasing the accuracy of fat cell removal. Additionally, the adrenaline in the solution acts as a vasoconstrictor, reducing the risk of bleeding.

Using lidocaine instead of a general anesthesia may also decrease the risk of related side effects, such as:

. Nausea or vomiting

. Muscle aches

. Hypothermia

. Sore throat

. Headaches

. Delirium

Overall, some of the possible benefits may include a decreased risk of:

. Bleeding

. Pain and soreness

. Bruising

. Skin rippling after surgery

Still, since standard liposuction removes more fat and requires general anesthesia, you can expect significant differences between the two procedures. Consider the following factors:

Tumescent Liposuction

Standard Liposuction

Target areas

Smaller amounts of fat, with as little as 3 liters taken out

Larger amounts of fat, up to 10 liters

Type of anesthesia used




1 to 3 mm in length

1 to 1.5 cm in length


Lidocaine, saline, and adrenaline injected into fat cells prior to surgery


Average surgery length

3 to 4 hours

2 to 3 hours

Possible side effects

Minimal pain, burning, and bleeding

More moderate risk of pain, bruising, and bleeding. Skin rippling and risks from general anesthesia are also possible.

Recovery timeline

A few days

Several days or weeks

Post-surgery requirements

Temporary pain relievers possible

Pain medications, sutures, and possible blood transfusion



. https://www.healthline.com/health/cosmetic-surgery/tumescent-liposuction


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