Dermatologic Surgery


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Analysis of Postoperative Complications for Superficial Liposuction: A Review of 2398 Cases
Kim YH, Cha SM, Naidu S, Hwang WJ. 2011. Plast Reconstr Surg. 2011;127:863-871.

Is superficial liposuction more risky than more conventional techniques? While it’s generally accepted that this approach can provide optimal aesthetic results, it has also been associated with complications, including skin necrosis and contour irregularities. The study authors decided to ask the hard question and looked at 2398 patients who underwent superficial liposuction over a 14-year period, between March 1995 and December 2008. Patients were divided into 3 groups: group 1 underwent power-assisted liposuction (PAL), group 2 underwent PAL plus ultrasound energy, and group 3 underwent PAL plus ultrasound energy plus post-procedure Endermologie. Researchers performed statistical analyses on each group. A total of 206 patients (8.6%) reported complications, most of which were contour irregularities, but which also included 2 cases of infection and 4 instances of skin necrosis. Researchers found that patients who underwent ultrasound (with or without Endermologie), groups 2 and 3, experienced significantly fewer complications, including contour irregularities and skin necrosis. Thus, while superficial liposuction alone may be more risky than other liposuction techniques, the study suggests that these may be mitigated by adding ultrasound energy to the procedure. The authors also note that contour irregularities, the most common side effect, can be minimized or avoided with proper patient selection and a conservative approach to the technique.
Publication available through Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons