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).
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.