With seemingly constant innovations in liposuction, there’s never been a better time for patients to consider this procedure. One type of liposuction, called SAFELipo, is becoming increasingly popular among plastic surgeons and patients worldwide. The body contouring process allows for large and small-volume fat reduction and redistribution without the dimples and contour irregularities that sometimes result from lipo.
SAFELipo was invented in the early 2000s by Dr. Simeon Wall Jr., a board-certified plastic surgeon from Louisiana. Dr. Wall originally developed the procedure when he found himself treating a lot of revision cases referred to his practice – patients whose first liposuction procedures produced unsatisfactory results. These patients often had contouring irregularities like ripples due to uneven fat distribution, and dermal adhesions, which occur when the skin comes directly into contact with the underlying muscle. Dermal adhesions create a dimpled, lumpy appearance.
Dr. Wall determined that a 3-step process was necessary to correct these contour irregularities. To effectively smooth the remaining fat and create a natural-looking, toned appearance, his approach would need to be gentle as possible without sacrificing effectiveness. After an extended period of development, Dr. Wall finally came up with the following formula:
Separation: During the first step of a SAFELipo procedure, the surgeon uses a tool called a basket cannula to break up and emulsify the targeted fat. By loosening and emulsifying this fat, it’s easier for the surgeon to aspirate it later, resulting in a more favorable outcome. The separation step precisely targets the fat that will be removed, and it’s gentle enough not to disturb the fragile network of blood vessels and other nearby structures.
Aspiration: If you’ve been researching liposuction, you’re likely already familiar with this step. The aspiration step refers to the point in the procedure when fat is suctioned out of the body. Because SAFELipo breaks up the fat prior to aspiration, the surgeon is able to preferentially suction the unwanted fat, using a smaller cannula for suction. And since the fat has already been loosened and emulsified, the surgeon can take a gentler approach to aspiration, reducing bruising, swelling, and discomfort during recovery.
Fat Equalization: This step is arguably the most important phase of the SAFELipo process, and the one that makes itdifferent from other forms of liposuction. During the fat equalization step, the thin layer of subcutaneous fat that remains following aspiration is shaped and evened out to form a smooth layer of local fat grafts between the skin and the muscle. The result is a well-toned appearance of the targeted area that blends seamlessly with the patient’s own natural curves. Fat shifting and or fat grafting is then added to further enhance the desired body shaping.
Since its inception, Dr. Wall and doctors throughout the country and the world, have embraced SAFELipo for both primary and secondary liposuction procedures. You can learn more by visiting the SAFELipo Technique.
Norma Kassardjian, MD practices in San Juan Capistrano at Klein Lipo as a Dermatologic Surgeon, board certified by American Board of Dermatology. Dr. Kassardjian has 22 years of experience providing cosmetic and aesthetic medical services, and is a member of American Society of Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS).