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Dermatol Surg. 2019 Feb;45(2):171-182. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001707.

Safety Studies in the Field of Liposuction: A Systematic Review.

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Department of Dermatology, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Medisch Centrum 't Gooi, Bussum, the Netherlands.
Roosevelt Kliniek, Leiden, the Netherlands.
Laser and Skin Surgery Center of Indiana, Indianapolis, Indiana.



There is an increasing demand for safety standards for cosmetic treatments. With regard to liposuction, interdisciplinary consensus is lacking, especially regarding treatment setting and physician specialty.


A solid, independent interpretation of scientific data on safety requires a systematic approach, which is the aim of this study.


A systematic literature search was conducted for safety studies about liposuction through April 2017. Fatalities and/or reported serious adverse events served as outcome measures for safety.


Twenty-four studies were included. Factors that contributed to increased serious complication and mortality risk were: use of the (super)wet technique; use of systemic anesthetics, especially general anesthesia and intravenous sedation; execution by a plastic surgeon; execution in an operating room; and combination with other procedures.


Liposuction using tumescent local anesthesia has been shown to be the safest method of fat removal, especially if no or only minimal systemic anesthesia is used. Performance of this technique in an office-based setting has been proven to be safe beyond doubt. When systemic anesthesia is used, an outpatient or ambulatory surgery facility seems also safe. Regardless of the physician specialty, knowledge and training on the execution of the tumescent procedure are vital to ensure optimal safety.

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