A recent study in the medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has reported that online information about liposuction is of overall “very poor” quality. Of most concern was the lack of information on the possible risks of liposuction.

Those conducting the research used popular web search engines to identify over 200 websites providing information on liposuction. These websites were then evaluated using a standard method by which the quality and completeness of the information available is assessed. The results showed “substantial shortcomings” of the online information about liposuction.

Surprisingly, the majority of the websites that provided poor quality information were developed by plastic surgeons and clinics who perform liposuction. In contrast, websites developed by professional societies, patient groups, academic centres and health departments all scored highly.

Elise Bevan, a solicitor in the cosmetic surgery team at Penningtons Manches, said: “Few of the websites provided information about the risks and complications associated with liposuction which is concerning. A number of sites, particularly those created by surgeons themselves, did not mention any risks at all. Liposuction does carry risks and complication rates have been reported as highly as one in every ten patients. It is therefore vitally important that information on the risks is readily available through websites that offer this procedure. This is particularly so given the large number of patients undergoing liposuction and its increasing popularity. Better quality information is needed for prospective patients.”