What is SAFE Liposuction?

Has anyone heard of this? This is how it was explained to me: The liposuction that the doctor discussed with you during your consultation was SAFE liposuction, utilizing a basket cannula to break up the fat , followed by suction to remove the fat, then again with the basket cannula to smooth out the fat, resulting in a smoother, tighter appearance. I cannot find any reference to this particular technique anywhere on the Internet.

Doctor Answers 13

SAFELipo Explained

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You seem to have a pretty good basic understanding of the procedure, but I can fill in the details. SAFELipo is a 3-step body contouring process that has been adopted by plastic surgeons all over the U.S. and internationally. The separation step uses some specially designed ‘exploded’ probes, or in some cases, a basket cannula to gently break up the fat and detach it from surrounding tissues without causing damage to the blood vessels that support the area. There is no heat generated, so there is no risk of thermal injuries like scar tissue, dermal adhesions, and even burns that can result from thermal liposuction methods. With SAFELipo, the tissue around the separated fat is left in a healthy, intact state. The aspiration step removes the mechanically emulsified fat using a smaller type of cannula that won’t rip or tear blood vessels. This allows for removal of all of the targeted fat, and the surgeon doesn't have to use a lot of manual force like with other liposuction methods, which is another reason there is minimal bruising and bleeding with SAFELipo. The fat equalization step combines aspects of fat shifting and fat grafting to smooth the remaining layer of fat for visibly stunning results. In the past, one of the biggest challenges of liposuction was how to remove ALL of the unwanted fat in an area without creating a dented, lumpy or wavy surface in the treated area. This process has answered that challenge, and creates the dramatic yet smooth results patients and doctors are looking for.

Board-certified plastic surgeons undergo special training in order to become a SAFELipo provider. I train surgeons around the world in this method, and the number of doctors offering the process continues to grow. If you're considering the procedure, the SAFELipo website offers a doctor locator to help you find a provider in your area. Good luck!

Shreveport Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 14 reviews


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The term SAFELipo (TM) has been trademarked by Dr Simeon Wall in Louisiana. It is a method of liposuction just as you described. The first step is to Separate (S) the fat with those exploded tip liposuction cannulas without using any suction. The second step is to Aspirate (A) the fat with mercedes tip cannulas on suction.... I'm not sure if Dr Wall has published his method yet but it was presented at a recent cosmetic surgery conference. This technique is being advocated to reduce contour irregularities (dents) after liposuction.

Nia Banks, MD, PhD
Washington Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

SAFE(TM) Liposuction is the method I have adopted because it is safe and still is after 3 years

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Update 2013:  Now 3 years later I am even more convince that SAFElipo (TM) technique is both safe and effective.  The results are the best I have ever achieved.  My results with SAFElipo are also as good or better than what I have achieved in the past with Ultrasound assisted or Power assisted liposuction without the increased risk associated with these energized techniques.

Original Answer 2010:  I have adopted the method of SAFE(TM) liposuction and believe it is an excellent and safe method.  It does employ traditional tumescent injections before the liposuction followed by exactly what you have described.  The area is pretunneled by a basket cannula.  Traditional SAL is next performed using a angle cannula.   Then a basket cannula is used to smooth the area and avoid high and low areas.  Dr. Wall believes this last step leaves some fat that has been rearranged into a layer of newly formed fat grafts which help rejuvenate and tighten the skin because of the effect of the stem cells.

This method was presented at the last American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons national meeting in April, 2010 in Washington DC.   I was in attendance when Dr. Simeon Wall spoke and was very impressed with the candid nature of his discussion and the results he showed.

I really thought it might be time to consider adding one of the new techniques of Liposuction to our practice at Sarasota Plastic Surgery.  I also attended Dr. Gordon Sasaki's instructional course where he presented a comparison of all of the latest energized techniques of Liposuction.  This included ultrasound assisted, water assisted, laser assisted ,power assisted, etc.  He admitted that none of these techniques was clearly better in all respects than Tumescent liposuction and many had increased risked.  I asked him, point blank, which energized Liposuction machine I should buy  if I were bound and determined to add a new liposuction technique to my practice.  He said,"At this point I would not buy any of them!"  This is a world expert and a very thoughtful man saying this and I have a lot of respect for his opinion.

Since I have adopted the SAFE(TM) technique I believe my results are much improved and I am seeing some good contraction of the skin.  I hope this helps you in you search for the safest and most effective liposuction technique.

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SAFE lipo

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I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Simeon Wall from New Orleans after his presentation of his SAFE technique. It was described nicely in previous posts.  I will say he is a solid guy and stands to make nothing or very little from the promulgation of his technique.  He believes in it, is passionate and happy to share it with anyone interested.  this is the complete refreshing opposite of most entrepreneur/surgeons trying to retire after selling the public a marketed/ hyped bullsh-t procedure with a catchy name.  I personally believe in the principles of pre-tunneling (described over 30 years ago) and suction followed by smoothing passes, whatever you call it. the role of Ultrasonic or Laser is to obfuscate and confuse the pt into choosing technology over surgeon. a mistake in my opinion. hope this helps. good luck

Rafael C. Cabrera, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon

Safe liposuction.

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There have been several "new" liposuction techniques which have been heavily marketed in the media.  Laser lipo, smart lipo, ultrasonic lipo, water jet assisted lipo, etc.  The new techniques,  which  proclaimed to be "better, safer, faster, less recovery time, with less bruising, are a triumph of marketing over science.  I know of no scientific paper which shows significantly improved results from any of these "new" procedures as opposed to carefully done Tumescent liposuction.  So if you nor any of the surgeons who have already answered this questions can find any reference to this SAFE liposuction, I would avoid it.


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SAFELipo is a revolutionary advancement in liposuction. It depends on technique rather than technology. So, few surgeons offer it because they are not trained in the technique. That being said, SAFELipo offers dramatic, natural changes for the right patient.

SAFELipo does not use thermal energy like ultrasound (VASER) or lasers (Smartlipo). So, there is less scarring to the tissues. I believe that SAFELipo creates smoother results with less trauma to the skin. This breakthrough technique gently and dramatically sculpts the treatment area while equalizing the thin layer of fat just below the skin. This layer of equalized fat helps to prevent and correct the wavy, uneven texture sometimes left after other types of liposuction.

Jeffrey Claiborne, MD
Nashville Physician


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I have been in practice since 1986.  I have seen or tried most liposuction techniques over the years.  I can say with 100% conviction that my SAFELipo results are better than any I have achieved in the past.  I have a Smart Lipo machine collecting dust somewhere.  I refuse to use it.  One would not be incorrect to say that is not the tool but the surgeon that makes the difference.  However, I find SAFELipo to be a superior technique in my hands.  Thank you Simeon Jr. 

David Marcus, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

SAFE liposuction

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although I am unfamiliar with thistechnique it is not yet a mainstream approach.. Liposuction is safely done when there is attention to detail and the tumescent technique is employed.  The cannulais moved at a certain plane but an aggressive cannula moved in the superficial plane, too superficially, could cause a dent.  In other words, no liposuction treatment, includilng SmartLipo is guaranteed not to cause a complication.  Nothing is risk-free.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

SAFE liposuction

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SAFE liposuction is advertising hype rather than any scientific basis and should not be taken to mean that it's safer, "better", or will have a better outcome over other approaches. 

Safe liposuction, on the other hand, can be done with virtually any technique and involves pulling out only the excess fat cells evenly without cutting or damaging the skin or structures between the skin and the muscle level. It also involves avoiding creating scar tissue. Proper sterile technique and utilizing the readily available methods to avoid excessive blood loss are also assumed. 

Liposuction can also be safely done under local anesthesia which avoids issues associated with general anesthesia but this is not to imply that general anesthesia is unsafe or is to be avoided at all costs. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon

SAFE Liposuction

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The safest liposuction in my opinion is usually with tradtional techniques using tumescent solution and egular cannulas.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.