Lipoplasty Update: Power-Assisted Lipoplasty (PAL)

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New York, NY (November 17, 2000)—Background: Lipoplasty (liposuction) was the most popular cosmetic surgical procedure in 1999, increasing 62% from 1997 to 287,150 procedures, according to American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) statistics. Power-assisted Lipoplasty (PAL) is a relatively new technique, approved for general use by the FDA in December 1998, and is not yet widely used. Most lipoplasty procedures are performed using traditional suction-assisted lipoplasty (SAL) and about 16% of procedures use ultrasound-assisted lipoplasty (UAL).


In PAL, a reciprocating cannula, or hollow tube (powered by gas or electricity) reportedly powers through tissue and vacuums out fat and fibrous or scarred tissue with minimal effort. The back and forth motion of the tip of the cannula facilitates passage through tissue.

Benefits (according to surgeons who have used PAL):

  • Ease of use results in a procedure that is gentler for the patient, possibly causing less bruising, swelling and discomfort.
  • May provide a more rapid recovery, with quicker return to work and activities.
  • The technique is physically less taxing for the surgeon.
  • Patients may spend less time in the operating room and under anesthesia than with other lipoplasty techniques.

Other Considerations:

  • Initial expense and amortization of the special equipment.
  • Surgeon’s learning curve before being comfortable with the procedure.
  • Persistent vibration of the instrument can cause surgeon discomfort.

ASAPS Position:

Lipoplasty is a safe, efficient, time-proven procedure that enjoys immense popularity with patients. Equivalent results are achieved from using any of the current techniques. PAL appears promising as a technique offering potential benefits to both patients and surgeons. It is the position of ASAPS, however, that the lipoplasty patient’s most important consideration should be surgeon selection, not the specific technique being used. Prospective patients should choose a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and, if the procedure is done in an office-based surgical facility, should be sure the doctor has hospital privileges to perform the same procedure in an acute care hospital. In addition, the office-based facility should be accredited by a nationally recognized agency such as the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities (AAAASF), or should be state licensed or Medicare certified.


The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world's leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body. ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; Active Members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and nonsurgical aesthetic procedures. International Active Members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.


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