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Power Assisted Lipoplasty

Power Assisted Lipoplasty, or PAL, is a newer technique for liposuction. In December of 1998 the FDA approved Power Assisted Lipoplasty for general use.  Initially, lipoplasty was used primarily to treat localized fat collections that did not respond to diet and exercise. While it was not hard to understand the appeal of lipoplasty, the development of better, less invasive techniques has been credited with allowing patient demand to be safely and effectively met. 

Surgeons were soon able to remove fat using small incisions that left minimal scars in conspicuous areas. With Power Assisted Lipoplasty, the cannula, or instrument used to suck the fat out, is powered by gas or electricity. The cannula is able to power through tissue and vacuum out the fat and fibrous or scared tissue with less effort than without the power. In traditional lipoplasty, a risk of bruising, swelling and discomfort can accompany the surgery because the surgeon is required to use his/her own strength to move the cannula back and forth. 

As a result, Power Assisted Lipoplasty may be gentler for the patient, with a quicker recovery and shorter downtime. The ability for the cannula to facilitate passage through tissue with its powered tip can make the surgery go faster and require less time under anesthesia. Complications under anesthesia are a risk of surgical procedures requiring it, and the longer a person is under, the greater the risk for complications become. Since a patient choosing Power Assisted Lipoplasty may spend less time in the operating room, the risk of suffering from an anesthesia related effect could be reduced.

Power Assisted Lipoplasty was able to reduce surgeon fatigue associated with traditional techniques. The introduction of new techniques, like Power Assisted Lipoplasty, appeared to initially bring a backlash. These techniques allowed for the removal of greater amounts of fat, but the number of complications also began to rise. To keep up with demand, some doctors who were untrained to perform a specialty procedure like Power Assisted Lipoplasty, were offering it to patients with financial incentives. 

By the mid-1990s, the safety record of lipoplasty began to improve after board-certified plastic surgeons formed a task force to investigate lipoplasty safety. By using stricter patient selection criteria, limiting the length of the surgery, avoiding pre-injection of excessive amounts of fluid and local anesthetic, removing a smaller volume of fat, avoiding combining lipoplasty with certain other procedures and lastly, implementing careful postoperative monitoring, dramatic improvements were made. 

Now, lipoplasty, including Power Assisted Lipoplasty, is considered a safe and effective aesthetic procedure when performed by a qualified and reputable surgeon. Every surgical procedure has risks involved, and a patient must carefully consider both the benefits of a procedure as well as the risks.  Power Assisted Lipoplasty is not yet as widespread a technique as some other lipoplasty methods, but it appears to be a very promising approach to lipoplasty with some very appealing benefits.  

For more information on Power Assisted Lipoplasty, please contact us