The Power of PAL (Power-assisted Liposuction)

Liposuction has consistently remained one of the most popular cosmetic plastic surgery procedures for men and women who wish to re-contour localized parts of their body. Even with the introduction of alternative body contouring treatments like SculpSure™ nonsurgical fat reduction, liposuction ranks among the top three most sought after procedures. There are several different liposuction techniques board-certified plastic surgeons can use to target accumulated fat cells, but today, I want to talk about fighting unwanted fat with PAL (Power-assisted liposuction).

The Power of PAL (Power-assisted Liposuction)In 2015 alone, the reported number of liposuction procedures jumped 5% with over 222,000 procedures performed just in the U.S.* – and ranking it second just behind breast augmentation. Starting with the basics, traditional liposuction patients typically treat areas that have become resistant to exercise and healthy eating like: thighs, love handles, abdomen, chin, buttocks, etc. Utilizing the tumescent liposuction technique, which uses an injected anesthetic fluid to make fat removal smoother, quicker, and safer, a small incision hidden within the natural contours of the body is made to allow a very thin tube (called a cannula) to reach the fatty tissue. It’s with the help of the cannula that I’m able to manually suction the fat out effectively.

What is power-assisted liposuction (PAL)?

Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) uses a special mechanical cannula that creates rapid vibrations within the layers of the fat. The vibrations break up the fat cells and make it much easier to suction out affected cells from the treatment area. The benefits of PAL include:

  • Allows more precise excess fat removal which lead to better liposuction results
  • Can sculpt once harder to reach areas like the inner thighs, male breasts, and around the belly button + harder to suction, more fibrous fat
  • Micro-movements let me target specific areas of fat without damaging the surrounding tissue
  • Quicker treatment times – means less time you spend in the operating room and the faster you get to rest easy in your own home
  • Less bruising
  • Reduced recovery time

What else can power-assisted liposuction (PAL) be used for?

Using a patient’s own harvested fat during cosmetic procedures has opened the doors for more ways to augment the body (specifically the face, breast, and buttocks) in recent years. I personally have been interested in using power-assisted liposuction beyond body contouring and have found this technique to be particularly advantageous during fat transfer procedures. I’ve found it can provide great benefits when used during Brazilian Butt Lifts and have even developed my own technique that has attracted worldwide attention. This technique not only reduces the amount of pressure and damage to the fat cells, which results in potentially improved survival when added to its new donor site, but also has been proven to reduce a patient’s operation time by as much as 45 minutes to an hour.

As board-certified plastic surgeons, we are constantly researching new techniques and implementing those that help increase not only a patient’s safety, but their happiness with their results. Patients that are physically and mentally sound, have small amounts of localized fat, and aren’t seeing toned results, despite eating properly and staying active, make good candidates for power-assisted liposuction. The best way my patients can keep their svelte look after their liposuction procedure is to keep this reminder in mind: once I remove the fat cells, they’re gone forever – but that doesn’t mean fat cells can’t accumulate in other surrounding areas if you experience significant weight gain. Liposuction is not a weight-loss solution and requires your active participation in leading a health and wellness-conscious lifestyle if you want to get the most out of your liposuction results.

Popular Fat Transfer Procedures

Plastic surgery comes with a plethora of options – both surgical and nonsurgical. This diversity is great because it gives patients the opportunity to customize their surgical plan to not only help them get the plastic surgery results of their dreams, but it also gives them more of a say on how they choose to get there. One such procedure that has opened many doors for many plastic surgery patients is fat transfer. Best known as a procedure that harvests fat from a patient’s donor area (like their thighs for example), then goes through a purification process before it is skillfully reinjected into areas that need some extra volume. Most notably useful for the face and the body, let’s take a look at some of the most popular fat transfer procedures today.

SPS-Fat-Transfer

There are several benefits to fat transfer that body contouring, breast enhancement, and facial rejuvenation patients find appealing:

  • Fat transfer plastic surgery results are safe, natural, and long-lasting.
  • Is a noninvasive alternative to surgical procedures so the required downtime is significantly less
  • This procedure is a good alternative to temporary fillers but can also be used in conjunction with other nonsurgical facial rejuvenation treatments like Botox®, Juvéderm®, etc.
  • Fat transfer uses a patient’s own material so it greatly reduces the chance of adverse reactions that accompany any procedure where a foreign object is introduced into the body (for example, in the case of breast augmentation that would be the body’s reaction to new breast implants – although rare).

As fat transfer patients begin to heal, the injected fat creates its new blood supply where it is able to thrive in its new home. Successful fat transfer procedures can produce permanent results but for some patients, a percentage of the fat may not take to the new environment and may require touch-up procedures before desired results can be seen. To further improve this procedure, I’ve developed a new system for injecting fat in less time and less trauma (using a pulsating technique which reduces pain and potentially increases the fat’s survival). This is something we would discuss during your fat transfer consultation and revisited during any follow-up consultations we have scheduled to monitor your progress.

If you’re interested in fat transfer procedures or any of the additional cosmetic plastic surgery procedures performed at Southern Plastic Surgery, don’t hesitate to contact us at 770-622-9100. Be sure to stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, and the rest of the SPS team on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for more plastic surgery trends and special cosmetic surgery savings announcements.

New Trend Alert: Breast Augmentation with Fat Transfer

According to the latest American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) statistics, 15.6 million cosmetic plastic surgery procedures were performed last year in the United States; out of those many millions, over 286,000 were breast augmentation procedures.  The motivation behind this consistent trend can range from women wanting to fill out their clothing to addressing physical effects the breasts can experience during pregnancy and breastfeeding or simply for a confidence booster.  While many factors remain constant with most plastic surgery procedures, here’s a look into a new trend in breast augmentation techniques that has evolved into a viable option for achieving larger, fuller and natural-looking breasts.Breast Size

The key component to breast enhancement has long involved the use of breast implants to augment the size of the breasts.  The main FDA-approved players in breast implants include:

  • Saline implants – made of a silicone outer shell filled with sterile saline solution, many patients choose saline implants because they enjoy the look and feel and prefer their shell to be filled after the implant is inserted (this allows for alternative incision options including under the armpit, around the areola, along the bottom of the breast or around the naval).
  • Silicone implants – made of the same silicone outer shell as saline breast implants except these implants are pre-filled with a predetermined amount of silicone gel.  Some patients prefer these types of implants for their more natural look and also because they are more stable in their form.
  • Gummy bear implants – comprised of a highly-cohesive silicone gel substance that improves shape retention (less rippling like silicone) and ultimately allowing a softer, more natural feel.

Regardless of the type of implant chosen, the technique remains generally the same: an incision is made in a predetermined place on the body then the implant is inserted and either filled to the desired size or positioned above/beneath the chest muscle (all dependent on the type of implant used, your body type and ultimate goal).  Now, fat transfer offers a different approach.

Breast augmentation with fat transfer begins by using liposuction to remove unwanted fat from one area of the body, typically the abdomen, back, buttocks, or thighs, before it is sent through a purification process.  Once purified, the removed fat is re-injected in the breasts to add volume.  The injections themselves can be administered using local anesthetic, making this a minimally-invasive procedure, and carries less risk of an infection largely in part because the materials used to augment are taken from your own body rather than using a foreign object (synthetic implants).  On top of that, many argue that the newly added tissue is more soft and free-moving in comparison to breast implants and creates a more natural look and feel.  The downsides to this type of breast augmentation procedure are that the desired results are not guaranteed.  The fat needs adequate space within the breasts to survive and there is a possibility that some of the fat will be absorbed back into the body, potentially creating breast asymmetry, a need for breast revision procedures or resulting in smaller breasts that the patient originally hoped for.

Before you decide on a specific type of breast augmentation procedure it’s best to do your research so that you can maintain realistic expectations about the type of results you can possibly see.  If you’re interested in discussing your breast enhancement options, feel free to contact Southern Plastic Surgery to set up a consultation.  In the meantime, stay connected with me, Dr. David Whiteman, on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery trends, specials and updates.