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Dubai: Aesthetic surgery clinics and plastic surgeons have welcomed a new regulation on liposuction, a popular body sculpting cosmetic procedure, issued by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) that is in sync with international standards of safety.

The new regulation mandates that the procedure should be consultant-led, with fat and fluid removal being limited to five litres. Prior to the regulation, more volumes of fat could be aspirated in one session which could endanger the life of patients.

What is liposuction?

Liposuction or lipoplasty is a cosmetic surgery procedure used for body sculpting or contouring in those who are near ideal weight but have stubborn pockets of fats in some areas. Several liposuction methods are employed for the surgical removal of sub-cutaneous fat. Although not recommended as a weight loss procedure, it is widely used to remove the excess fat and improve body shape.

Initially, the procedure involved inserting a metal tube into the fatty tissue and breaking up the fat cells that were absorbed into the tube. New sophisticated methods however involve administering anaesthesia and aspirating the fat cells with cannulas introduced through small skin incisions, assisted by suction.

According to the new regulation, a foley catheter (a flexible sterile tube) must be inserted in case the fat and liquid volume exceeds three litres as it can monitor the fluid loss. Also by making it a consultant-led service, the authorities are ensuring the overall clinical responsibility for the procedure, professional care and treatment rests with the consultant doctor.

Dr Sanjay Parashar, plastic surgeon and founder of the private Cocoona Clinic, told Gulf News: “We welcome this regulation as it adheres to the highest standards of plastic surgery currently practised in many states of the US and European countries such as France. Limiting the fat removal to five litres makes liposuction completely safe for the patient. There have been incidents where patients insist on fat removal of up to seven and eight litres and this can cause loss of excess fluid as well as blood and can endanger the life of the patient.”

Dr Parashar explained that normally fat that was being aspirated was up to three litres. “However, in procedures where we have a combination of more than one kind of fat removal methods such as a tummy tuck as well as body lift, there were chances that more volume of fat and liquid would end up being removed. The new regulation puts a ceiling on this. If a patient wants additional liposuction, he or she can take additional sessions and return to the clinic post recovery for the new procedures.”

Dr Ateesh Barole , plastic surgeon at the American Aesthetic Medical Centre in Dubai, said:

“This is a win-win for both surgeons and patients. Setting the limit for fat aspiration to five litres ensures there is no risk of excessive fluid loss leading to electrolyte imbalance and jeopardy to the life of the patient. It makes the procedure 100 per cent safe for patients and helps doctors adhere to international safety standards.”

The regulation at a glance:

  • Liposuction services shall only be performed in a general hospital, specialty hospital or a day surgical centre (DSC) by a DHA-licensed specialist or consultant plastic surgeon
  • The liposuction procedures must be a consultant-led service
  • Physicians must be supported by a minimum of two perioperative registered nurses (RNs) for each liposuction procedure. Liposuction should be limited to 5,000 ml of total aspirate to include supernatant fat and fluid per procedure
  • A foley catheter should be inserted if more than 3,000 ml of liposuction is required.