Background: Separation, aspiration, and fatty equilibration (SAFE) liposuction uses a process approach to body contouring and minimizes injury to surrounding structures. The multistep process allows for (1) fat separation, (2) lipoaspiration, and (3) fat equalization. The purpose of this study was to review both outcomes and complications of primary SAFE liposuction.
Methods: Retrospective chart review was completed of patients undergoing SAFE liposuction from January of 2006 to January of 2011. Patient selection was limited to those undergoing liposuction alone with no adjuvant excisional procedures. Data were collected regarding demographics, body mass index, operative details, and outcomes.
Results: Seven hundred thirty-four patients were identified as having undergone SAFE liposuction. One hundred twenty-nine patients were found to have been treated with liposuction alone. Patient age ranged from 18 to 42 years and body mass index ranged from 18 to 42 kg/m (mean, 26.3 kg/m). Seven patients (5.4 percent) underwent treatment of the face and neck, six patients (4.7 percent) underwent treatment of upper extremities, 13 patients (10.1 percent) underwent treatment of the chest, 20 patients (15.5 percent) underwent treatment of lower extremities, 32 patients (24.8 percent) underwent treatment of the circumferential trunk, and 51 patients (39.5 percent) underwent treatment of circumferential trunk and additional area(s). No major complications occurred. Five of the 129 patients (3.87 percent) developed the minor complication of seroma formation.
Conclusions: SAFE liposuction is a multistep process approach to body contouring consisting of (1) fat separation, (2) lipoaspiration, and (3) fat equalization. The results of this study show such technique to be safe and effective.
Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.