Background: Fat removal by liposuction remains the most common body contouring surgery, particularly if one looks at body surface areas treated. Having been around for over 35 years liposuction has undergone many technologic advancements. The vast majority of these improvements have been in the equipment needed to perform it from cannula design to the devices used to free and remove the fat.
While liposuction has been historically powered by ‘elbow grease’, manually moving the cannula back and forth, this is the least efficient and most laborious technique for performing it. Many energy-based devices have been developed to make the fat particulation part of the process more efficient and effective. Using energies of focused light (laser), ultrasonic waves and high flow water, various manufacturers have put forth their machines for commercial use. Understandably all claim their superiority for improved liposuction results.
One low tech but popular liposuction technology is that of a power-assisted method. What this means, and is unique amongst all liposuction technologies, is that the tip of the cannula moves back and forth thousands of time a minute using ana electric motor. This is a miniature form of manually moving the cannula back and forth but being done by a machine. This creates much more action at the end of the cannula that could ever be done manually and spares fatigue on the operator as well.
Case Study: This 39 year-old female wanted to reduce some fullness across her abdomen and around her waistline into her back. (flanks) She was at a good weight but was un able to shed this fat layer.
Under general anesthesia and using a tumescent infiltration fluid, a 4mm cannula was used on a power-assisted device. A total of 2,150cc of fat aspirate was obtained from the entire abdomen and waistline. At six weeks after surgery she had a complete recovery and the treated areas showed substantial contour improvement.
Power-asssisted liposuction is one of the many contemporary liposuction technologies. It offers more efficient cannular fat extraction with less surgeon fatigue than traditional liposuction. These features are attractive to patients as well as less surgeon fatigue means greater sustained intraoperative efforts…which is often the key to good liposuction results regardless of the technology used.
- Liposuction remains the single best method for fat removal in the trunk.
- Many different technologies exist for performing liposuction, the ideal method remains to be determined.
- Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) is an effective liposuction method that uses an oscillating tip to reduce operator fatigue and improve efficiency.
Dr. Barry Eppley