Power-assisted liposuction (PAL) is an effective form of liposuction, promoting a quicker recovery and reducing side effects like swelling and bruising. With PAL, the instrument used to suction and remove fat is motorized, making the procedure easier for surgeons and speeding up the process of body contouring.
Your choice of liposuction technique will help determine the quality of the results you’ll attain. With PAL, patients can achieve the most effective body sculpting results in the abdomen, flanks, thighs, arms, and elsewhere.
If you want to learn more about PAL, book your appointment at Advanced Concepts in Plastic Surgery in San Antonio, TX. Our staff is headed by Dr. Suresh Koneru, a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 25 years of experience. As a member of several surgical organizations and a researcher in multiple medical studies, Dr. Koneru has the well-rounded expertise needed for patients to get the best quality treatment possible. Whether it’s something as minimally invasive as liposuction, or as comprehensive as a rhinoplasty, Dr. Koneru approaches each patient’s situation with the personalized care they need.
What is Liposuction?
Liposuction is a low-risk procedure that can provide incredible, long-lasting results for the right candidates. It can contour the following areas:
- Upper Arms
To understand how PAL is a different and more reliable form of liposuction, you need to understand the basics of this procedure.
Before removing unwanted pockets of fat, Dr. Koneru injects local anesthesia into the area, completely preventing any pain sensations. Then, he will use a cannula, a narrow metal tube, to inject tumescent fluid. This fluid has 3 components: lidocaine to numb the underlying fat, epinephrine to prevent bleeding, and saline, which engorges the fat and prepares it for removal.. For the next part of the procedure, the surgeon suctions out the fat, moving the cannula in back-and-forth motions just under the skin, but this work is all done by the surgeon.
Benefits of PAL
Power-assisted liposuction makes removing fat from the treatment area simpler and more effective. Unlike traditional liposuction techniques, it uses a mechanized device that oscillates back and forth. This breaks up and suctions out unwanted fat cells more efficiently. With PAL, Dr. Koneru can pass the cannula along the fatty layer with ease, allowing him to provide a more even result.
PAL is also much less likely to leave unwanted lumps of fat that can be visible from the outside. It suctions fat faster and is a better technique for large-volume liposuction– a procedure that involves more fat removal than usual. (1) Studies find that PAL cannulas typically remove about 45% more fat per minute when compared to regular cannulas. (2)
Candidates for Power-Assisted Liposuction
Candidates for PAL include patients who qualify for traditional liposuction. In general, PAL is for men and women who want to sculpt certain fatty areas of their body to get a slimmer figure overall, but it is not a weight loss procedure. Liposuction is designed for people who:
- Have stubborn exercise-resistant pockets of fat
- Are in good health
- Are non-smokers
- Have realistic expectations
- Have maintained a stable weight
- Don’t have any conditions that could slow down recovery
- Have healthy skin with good elasticity
- Are not breastfeeding or pregnant
Dr. Koneru will consider smokers who are willing to quit for a period of time to get their blood circulation working at its very best. This is important for a healthy recovery since blood transports vital oxygen and nutrients to the treatment areas.
During your consultation with Dr. Koneru, he will first ask you which areas of your body you would like to treat with liposuction. He will assess your skin’s elasticity, ensuring it has the required elasticity for liposuction. Some patients with loose skin that does not retract easily may not get the results they’re looking for with liposuction. In these cases, he may recommend another treatment plan, like a mommy makeover or a tummy tuck that can remove excess skin.
Dr. Koneru will go over everything you need to know to prepare and recover well. He will answer your questions about the surgery, ensuring you have enough information to make a good decision for your health and cosmetic appearance.
In preparation for your procedure, Dr. Koneru will make sure that you are in good health and help you take action to prevent complications from occurring. During this period, he will:
- Order blood tests
- Review your current medications and supplements
- Advise you to stop taking blood thinners
- Advise you to stop smoking at least 1 month before your procedure
- Recommend that you pick up prescriptions beforehand
- Give you information about what over-the-counter medications will be safe to take
Finally, at some point during your preparation, you should talk with a friend or family member about picking you up for your appointment. You won’t be able to drive home the same day of your surgery because you will likely still feel sedated.
Recovery and Results
After your procedure, you won’t feel anything right away, but you will soon experience soreness and tenderness in the treatment area. You will have some swelling and bruising as well. It’s important to keep an eye on these side effects to make sure they are not getting worse as you are recovering. Dr. Koneru will prescribe the FRAPS (fast recovery after plastic surgery) program to help you get back to day-to-day life faster. Alongside prescription medications, he will give you a compression garment to wear to encourage the swelling to go down and create more even body contours. You will likely be able to go back to work after 3 to 4 days, but you should continue to avoid exercising for around 4 to 6 weeks. As you heal, Dr. Koneru will give you instructions on how to use lymphatic massage to combat swelling and give you the option to include Z Wave treatments to help reduce swelling and even out the areas treated.
About 2 weeks into your recovery, you will have the option to undergo Z Wave, a non-invasive method that uses sound wave technology to improve contours, encourage more collagen production in the skin, and better blood circulation to the surgical site. Many describe the Z Wave device as feeling like a strong, vibrational massage. Sessions usually take only about 15 to 30 minutes, and you can expect some mild swelling, bruising, tingling, and discomfort for about 1 to 2 days following.
BodyTite and FaceTite
Depending on the area of liposuction, Dr. Koneru may recommend BodyTite or FaceTite/NeckTite to prevent loose skin from developing after liposuction. For this procedure, Dr. Koneru will make a tiny incision for the thin device to enter just under the skin. It will emit radio frequency (RF) energy, a type of electromagnetic energy that becomes thermal within the fat layer. He will treat the fat layer using a safe and controlled temperature no warmer than 158 degrees Fahrenheit. As it reaches the deep dermis layer of the skin, it cools to only 100 degrees- preventing any risk of skin burns. As the RF travels, it liquefies fat deposits and stimulates more collagen production, promoting skin-tightening results. (3)
Cost of Power-Assisted Liposuction in San Antonio
The cost of your PAL treatment will depend on the treatment area/s, anesthesia and medication costs, surgical fees, and other factors. Dr. Koneru will note all the aspects involved, ensuring you get a breakdown of the total cost during your consultation. If you are interested in applying for a financing option that is more affordable, Advanced Concepts in Plastic Surgery offers CareCredit, Prosper Healthcare Lending, and Alphaeon Credit.
To learn more about Dr. Koneru’s procedure options and his unique cosmetic approaches, visit his blog.
- Tabbal GN, Ahmad J, Lista F, Rohrich RJ. Advances in Liposuction: Five Key Principles with Emphasis on Patient Safety and Outcomes. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open. 2013;1(8):e75. doi:https://doi.org/10.1097/GOX.0000000000000007
- Codazzi D, Bruschi S, Robotti E, Bocchiotti MA. Power-Assisted Liposuction (P.A.L.) Fat Harvesting for Lipofilling: The Trap Device. World journal of plastic surgery. 2015;4(2):177-179. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4537612/
- Diane Irvine Duncan, Nonexcisional Tissue Tightening: Creating Skin Surface Area Reduction During Abdominal Liposuction by Adding Radiofrequency Heating, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Volume 33, Issue 8, November 2013, Pages 1154–1166, https://doi.org/10.1177/1090820X13505862