Tumescent anesthesia

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Tumescent anesthesia is a surgical technique for delivery of local anesthesia. It also makes the target tissue firm and turgid from absorbed water, which can aid certain procedures. It was originally devised for use in liposuction, but has since been applied to other surgical situations, including plastic surgery, burn care, and vascular surgery. It is a relatively safe way to achieve extensive regional anesthesia of skin and subcutaneous tissue with a high total dose but a low risk of systemic toxicity.[1] The subcutaneous infiltration of a large volume of very dilute lidocaine and epinephrine causes the targeted tissue to become swollen and firm, or tumescent, and permits otherwise painful procedures to be performed on patients without subjecting them to the inherent risks of general anesthesia, and with reduced blood loss due to the vasoconstriction induced by epinephrine.[2]

Agents and doses[edit]

The most common combination of agents used in tumescent anesthesia is lidocaine (0.05-0.10%) and epinephrine (1 ppm).[3][4][5] For lidocaine, total doses of 35 mg/kg[6] and 55 mg/kg[7] have been reported as reasonably safe high-end doses, in the context of liposuction. Prilocaine is also widely used, although it is not formally approved for tumescent anesthesia in the USA.[3] A combination of lidocaine/prilocaine has been used in radio frequency ablation of varicose veins,[8] and has been suggested as appropriate for cases where a great volume of tumescent anesthesia is required.[9] A double-blind randomized intraindividual study of lidocaine versus prilocaine in tumescent anesthesia for liposuction revealed no differences in efficacy or tolerability, except that lidocaine had a slightly more rapid onset of action.[9] A clinician reported favorably on the use of ropivacaine for slow-infusion tumescent anesthesia, where ropivacaine provided local anesthesia for about twice as long as lidocaine.[10] Bupivicaine is not recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology due to a lack of data on its use.[3]


  1. ^ Klein, J(2000). "About the Author". Tumescent Technique: Tumescent Anesthesia & Microcannular Liposuction. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby, Inc, 2000.
  2. ^ Rudolph H. De Jong. International Journal of Cosmetic Surgery and Aesthetic Dermatology. March 1, 2002, 4(1): 3-7. doi:10.1089/153082002320007412.
  3. ^ a b c "Tumescent local anesthesia: Recommendations | American Academy of Dermatology". www.aad.org. Retrieved 2019-05-18.
  4. ^ Klein, J. A. (November 1993). "Tumescent technique for local anesthesia improves safety in large-volume liposuction". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 92 (6): 1085–1098, discussion 1099–1100. doi:10.1097/00006534-199311000-00014. ISSN 0032-1052. PMID 8234507.
  5. ^ Burk, R. W.; Guzman-Stein, G.; Vasconez, L. O. (June 1996). "Lidocaine and epinephrine levels in tumescent technique liposuction". Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. 97 (7): 1379–1384. doi:10.1097/00006534-199606000-00009. ISSN 0032-1052. PMID 8643720. S2CID 39815212.
  6. ^ Klein, J. A. (March 1990). "Tumescent technique for regional anesthesia permits lidocaine doses of 35 mg/kg for liposuction". The Journal of Dermatologic Surgery and Oncology. 16 (3): 248–263. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.1990.tb03961.x. ISSN 0148-0812. PMID 2179348.
  7. ^ Ostad, A.; Kageyama, N.; Moy, R. L. (November 1996). "Tumescent anesthesia with a lidocaine dose of 55 mg/kg is safe for liposuction". Dermatologic Surgery. 22 (11): 921–927. doi:10.1111/j.1524-4725.1996.tb00634.x. ISSN 1076-0512. PMID 9063507. S2CID 24118936.
  8. ^ Kendler, Michael; Simon, Jan C.; Wetzig, Tino (June 2013). "Local anesthesia with lidocaine and prilocaine, using the tumescent technique, for the radiofrequency ablation of lower extremity varicose veins". International Journal of Dermatology. 52 (6): 739–744. doi:10.1111/ijd.12025. ISSN 1365-4632. PMID 23621295. S2CID 25721969.
  9. ^ a b Augustin, Matthias; Maier, Kristina; Sommer, Boris; Sattler, Gerhard; Herberger, Katharina (2010). "Double-blind, randomized, intraindividual comparison study of the efficacy of prilocaine and lidocaine in tumescent local anesthesia". Dermatology (Basel). 221 (3): 248–252. doi:10.1159/000319753. ISSN 1421-9832. PMID 20881359. S2CID 41394654.
  10. ^ Breuninger, H.; Hobbach, P. S.; Schimek, F. (October 1999). "Ropivacaine: an important anesthetic agent for slow infusion and other forms of tumescent anesthesia". Dermatologic Surgery. 25 (10): 799–802. doi:10.1046/j.1524-4725.1999.99087.x. ISSN 1076-0512. PMID 10594583.

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