Safety of Large-Volume Liposuction in Aesthetic Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Aesthet Surg J. 2021 Aug 13;41(9):1040-1053. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjaa338.


Background: Current literature clearly outlines the complication rates of liposuction in general; however, data specific to large-volume liposuction (LVL) remain unclear.

Objectives: The authors aimed to synthesize the current evidence on the safety of LVL with this systematic review.

Methods: A comprehensive search in the MEDLINE, EMBASE, and CENTRAL databases was conducted for primary clinical studies reporting on safety or complications related to aesthetic LVL from 1946 to March 2020. The primary outcome measure was the incidence of surgical complication, and the secondary outcome measure was changes in metabolic profile. Meta-analyses were conducted to pool the estimated surgical complication incidence and metabolic changes.

Results: Twenty-three articles involving 3583 patients were included. The average aspirate volume was 7734.90 mL (95% CI = 5727.34 to 9742.45 mL). The pooled overall incidence of major surgical complications was 3.35% (95% CI = 1.07% to 6.84%). The most common major complication was blood loss requiring transfusion (2.89% [95% CI = 0.84% to 6.12%]) followed by pulmonary embolism (0.18% [95% CI = 0.06% to 0.33%]), hematoma (0.16% [95% CI = 0.05% to 0.32%]), necrotizing fasciitis (0.13% [95% CI = 0.04% to 0.29%]), and deep vein thrombosis (0.12% [95% CI = 0.03% to 0.27%]). No fat embolism or death was reported in the included studies. The pooled overall incidence of minor surgical complication was 11.62% (95% CI = 6.36% to 18.21%), with seroma being the most common minor complication (5.51% [95% CI = 2.69% to 9.27%]). Reductions in lipid profile, glucose profile, body weight, and hematocrit level were observed after LVL.

Conclusions: The authors meta-analyzed and highlighted the complication rates specifically related to LVL in this study; however, the current data are limited by the lack of level 1 evidence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lipectomy* / adverse effects
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Pulmonary Embolism*
  • Seroma
  • Surgery, Plastic*