Pain associated with liposuction is a major concern for some people considering it. That’s understandable, of course. No one wants to be in pain. Fortunately, there is often very little discomfort with modern liposuction techniques.
In discussing pain associated with liposuction, there are two aspects to consider. The first is pain during the procedure, and the second is pain during liposuction recovery.
During liposuction, pain is non-existent with general anesthesia. However, there are many reasons to avoid general anesthesia with safety being the most important. Fortunately, even under local anesthesia, liposuction can be painless.
Under local anesthesia, there is a little discomfort during the earliest phases of numbing when the anesthetic is first introduced, but that is it. Patients tolerate this very well. Certain areas, like the neck and chin, have zero pain. Even larger areas, like the abdomen, can be painless.
After liposuction, recovery is much easier if local anesthesia was used. That’s because the effects of local anesthesia wear off slowly over about 18 hours, so there is good pain control for 1.5 days. Most patients don’t need anything more than Extra Strength Tylenol to manage their pain.
If general anesthesia is used, there may be a more painful recovery requiring prescription pain medications, and there can also be effects from the general anesthesia including nausea and vomiting.