The Safety and Efficacy of SAFELipo®

The results are in: SAFELipo lives up to its promise of dramatic, consistent, and reliably smooth results. That's according to a December 2016 study in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The Premise of the Study

To answer the question, "Is the SAFELipo liposuction process safe and effective?" the study gathered retrospective data on 734 SAFELipo patients who had the procedure between 2006 and 2011. To fully isolate for SAFELipo alone, they set aside patients who had undergone other procedures concurrently, leaving 129 who had only SAFELipo. For all groups in the study, there were zero instances of major complications. Five patients presented with seroma (i.e., fluid buildup after surgery), which can be resolved during a follow-up visit.

Perhaps more significantly, there were zero instances of contour deformities, further validating that the SAFELipo process can be utilized to remove all excess fat without causing skin irregularities.

The study investigated the efficacy of SAFELipo, defining "advanced body contouring" by a liposuction technique's ability to achieve 5 stated goals:

Optimizing Fat Removal

In other words: Can the liposuction method remove a significant amount of fat efficiently? On this measure, study authors pointed to the versatility of SAFELipo, noting that power-assisted liposuction (i.e., providing a power source to gently vibrate the cannula) can be used to speed up the procedure if needed.

Comprehensive Body Contouring

Any successful liposuction method needs to be useful across a range of treatment areas. In this regard, patients can undergo SAFELipo on the face and neck, chest, arms, torso, or legs (thighs, knees, or calves).

Preserving Vascular Integrity

When using a cannula, the surgeon needs to be careful of the blood and lymphatic vessels in the vicinity of the treatment area. The Separation step in SAFELipo takes extra care to loosen and liquefy the fat, which makes it much simpler to Aspirate (suction out), using specially designed cannulas to minimize damage to blood vessels nearby.

Maximizing Skin Retraction in the Treatment Area

A successful liposuction technique has a very low risk of abnormal skin adhesions (a common source of contour deformities). In the Fat Equalization step, SAFELipo leaves a thin layer of fat between the skin and the newly contoured area, so that the skin has a smooth surface to adhere to.

Minimizing Potential for Complications

Every step of SAFELipo is designed with this in mind, and the study confirms that a multistep process approach leads to improved surgical outcomes, because it pays attention to the potential pitfalls of traditional methods and corrects for them.

What the landmark findings of the study mean for SAFELipo patients is that large amounts of fat can be removed from various areas of the body with an extremely low chance of having an uneven, wavy, or irregular result.

Liposuction and "The Delicate Balance"

Ever since liposuction first emerged as the prevailing method of removing unwanted fat from the body, the natural — and noble — inclination has been to find ways to make it safer, more comfortable for patients, and better overall.

The challenge with new advances in liposuction, as with innovation in any field, is that it eventually needs to contend with some unavoidable limits. When removing fat from the body, those limits manifest in the form of potential complications. The study refers to it as a "delicate balance": As you remove more fat, skin irregularities and contour deformities become more likely.

Some liposuction technologies, such as laser liposuction, use thermal energy (and thermal injury) to try and overcome that barrier. However, those methods carry with them an additional risk of fibrosis (i.e., lumps) or internal scarring. On this point, the study notes:

"Advances in body contouring should focus on preservation of anatomical structures rather than incrementally imposing larger sums of tissue injury and destruction. Methods that accomplish the goals of facilitating fat removal and body contouring and maximizing tissue preservation are more likely to evade contour deformities."

SAFELipo takes precisely that approach, creating a thin layer of your own fat during the Fat Equalization step that prevents the tissues from scarring abnormally. This leads to results that look naturally smooth — and it can even correct for unsatisfactory results from a past liposuction procedure. In fact, Dr. Wall Jr. initially developed the SAFELipo process as a means of correcting contour irregularities that he encountered when treating patients who had undergone unsatisfactory procedures elsewhere.

Find a Doctor

If you're interested in SAFELipo, we can help you find a doctor who has been trained to perform this remarkable body contouring process.

Disclosure

Dr. Simeon H. Wall Jr., the originator of SAFELipo, co-authored this study.

Study Citation

Wall, Simeon H. Jr.; Lee, Michael R. Separation, Aspiration, and Fat Equalization: SAFE Liposuction Concepts for Comprehensive Body Contouring, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery: 2016; 138(6): 1192-1201. http://journals.lww.com

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