Survey Extracts Surgeons’ Preferences on Liposuction

New York, NY – With an array of new innovations in liposuction and other forms of fat removal, which do plastic surgeons prefer, and which do they perceive as the safest? To answer these questions, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) recently conducted a survey of its membership to uncover their experience with liposuction, new fat removal technologies and the management of complications.  The survey revealed that suction-assisted lipectomy (SAL), or “traditional” liposuction, was the preferred method of fat removal for over half of respondents; power-assisted liposuction (PAL) and ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL) were also popular. Laser-assisted liposuction (LAL) and external noninvasive devices, such as external ultrasound and laser, were the least popular methods for fat removal.  The full results of the ASAPS Current Trends in Liposuction Survey have been published in the February issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (ASJ).

“In a field that is so rapidly advancing, it is essential to continually evaluate new technologies and methods to ensure that we maintain the safety of our patients,” said Jamil Ahmad, MD, lead author of the survey, “Our survey found that ASAPS members tend to more frequently employ the fat removal methods that have the longest track records and the most data to support their efficacy and safety. In the future, we may notice preferences shift as we see additional prospective data comparing techniques, and as we gain more experience with newer methods. These factors will also help us continue to improve safety-related standards of care.”

The Aesthetic Society survey consisted of 17 questions pertaining to the application of liposuction and other fat removal techniques, management of complications, and experience with newer fat removal technologies. The survey was distributed via email to 1,713 ASAPS members, of whom 492 (28.7 percent) responded. Highlights of the survey include the following findings:

  • Most respondents perform between 51 and 100 liposuctions per year.
  • Most currently employ or have previous experience with SAL (92.7 percent), UAL (59.6 percent), and PAL (44.7 percent). Fewer have experience with LAL (12.8 percent), mesotherapy (5.7 percent), or noninvasive devices (12.8 percent).
  • The preferred method of fat removal from most to least popular was:
    • SAL (51.4 percent)
    • PAL (23.0 percent)
    • UAL (20.9 percent)
    • LAL (3.9 percent)
    • Noninvasive devices (0.8 percent)
  • Respondents felt that newer fat removal technologies including LAL and mesotherapy were associated with a disproportionately higher rate of complications compared with more established methods (ie., SAL, PAL, and UAL).
  • Respondents felt that marketing (68.3 percent) was the most common reason that influenced patients to choose newer treatments such as LAL.
  • Members support education of physicians with appropriate aesthetic surgery training and similar ethical practice but are concerned with industry marketing to physicians without appropriate aesthetic surgery training, practicing outside of their scope of practice. 

“Evaluating the opinions of our members is an excellent way to identify industry trends and determine how to improve the field for both surgeons and patients,” said Felmont Eaves III, MD, ASAPS president.   “It is important for us to conduct surveys such as these, not only regarding liposuction and other forms of fat removal, but for all facets of aesthetic surgery.”

Liposuction, also called lipoplasty, removes deposits of excess fat from specific areas of the body including the face and neck. It is the second most popular surgical cosmetic procedure in the U.S., with 283,735 liposuction surgeries performed in the U.S. in 2009, according to ASAPS.

About ASJ
The Aesthetic Surgery Journal is the peer-reviewed publication of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and is the most widely read clinical journal in the field of cosmetic surgery, with subscribers in more than 60 countries.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.