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LEAPS demonstrates safety of liposuction, established study protocol

From Plastic Surgery News, October/November 2001

A recent released, comprehensive study has found liposuction procedures both safe and effective.

The final report for the Lipoplasty Effectiveness and Patient Safety (LEAPS) outcomes research study was recently presented by Bruce Cunningham, MD, LEAPS principal investigator.

This study was funded by Association of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Plastic Surgeons Education Foundations (PSEF), and the Aesthetic Surgery Education and Research Foundation.

LEAPS was designed and developed by the Outcomes Research Subcommittee of the Joint Outcomes Task Force. The primary objective of LEAPS was to determine if liposuction, as performed by American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certified plastic surgeons, is safe and effective. The specific hypotheses:

  • Liposuction as currently practiced by ABPS diplomats is a safe and effective operation.
  • Patient satisfaction with the procedures is high.
  • Complications rates with the surgery can be defined, and are predictable and acceptable.
  • Outcomes-based guidelines of the procedure can be derived.
  • A standardized instrument can determine safety and effectiveness of this procedure.

Developed to address scientific deficiencies in previous research on the outcomes of liposuction surgery, the protocol employed a multi-center prospective design with validated and standardized instruments developed for measuring outcomes.

There were 231 patients initially enrolled at baseline, and 55 percent completed the study. Baseline and follow-up patients self-administered questionnaires were provided from these 126 patients by 29 surgeons from 16 centers. Surgeries were performed in office surgical centers (46 percent), freestanding surgical centers (31 percent), and hospitals (23 percent). General anesthesia was used in 71 percent of operations with 73 percent of these administered by MD Anesthesiologist and 27 percent administered by RN Anesthetists.

Fifteen complications (9 percent) were reported. These included seven minor complications requiring no treatment, seven moderate complications requiring minimal treatment and one severe complication. There were no deaths.

Concurrent operations were performed in 35 percent of cases, with abdominoplasty the most common (14 percent). When concurrent procedures were performed, the complications rate remained relatively unchanged (11 percent versus 9 percent).

The median estimated fat removal was 1,625 cc (range 300 - 6,725 cc).

Liposuction was found to be both safe and effective for patients included in this prospective, multi-center study.


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