Power Assisted Liposuction Mammaplasty - that’s a mouthful. Let’s call it PALM for short. Before we discuss why this is an exciting new procedure for breast reductions, let’s first understand what it is.
Mammaplasty means to reshape or change the appearance of a breast. That can be through augmentation, reduction or reconstruction. In this case, we’re talking about reduction.
As most of us know, liposuction is the removal of unwanted pockets of diet- and exercise-resistant fat. We usually think of liposuction for our “problem areas”, like thighs, love handles and/or abdomen. But when in need of a breast reduction, liposuction can come to the rescue for those fat pockets as well. This is often the case for women with overly heavy, large and/or sagging breasts, or for men with unwanted curves on their chest.
There are a variety of mammaplasty reduction options, and liposuction has been integrated successfully into the procedure since the 1980’s. Of these various and relatively safe methods for breast reduction, there are problems associated with each, mainly in the area of upper–pole fullness (the curve in the upper chest that creates a nice décolletage), preservation of the blood supply, as well as retaining sensitivity around the nipple and areola.
Researchers and surgeons have reason to be excited because according to a recent study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal -- power assisted liposuction for mammaplasty is showing good and healthy results. In a power-assisted liposuction surgery, the fat is suctioned out through a much smaller tube, called a cannula. The cannula is inserted into the fat pocket, and as the special tool vibrates, it loosens the fat, making it easier to remove. Use of the cannula also gives surgeons more control, increasing the precision of the procedure.
According to the study, this procedure was used for women with large breasts that sag to extreme lengths. What is most interesting about this procedure is that the glands of the breasts are turned 180 degrees so that the shape of the upper part of the chest becomes more voluminous, where previously dragging on account of the heavy, low breasts. By turning the glands internally, the breast is lifted, appears fuller at the top and the power-assisted liposuction removes the excess mass that was weighing the boobs down to begin with. That the breasts are perkier is an understatement. Photo examples from the study show multiple examples of women whose breasts fell to nearly their navel being completely uplifted and reduced down to a shape and size that won’t elicit a groan of pain from too-taxed bra straps.
The study results show that power-assisted liposuction used for mammaplasty reduces the amount of bruising and yields a shorter recovery time for patients. Because the vibration of the cannula makes for easier removal of the fat, the breast tissue maintains blood flow during the procedure as well. And perhaps the most exciting advantage – this method preserves nipple sensitivity. (Yay.)
Maintaining blood flow and nipple sensitivity are key objectives for surgeons when undertaking a procedure that is so transformational, inside and out, because in the types of examples shared in the study, there is a significant amount of fat to suction and skin to be removed, as well as the goal of preserving and literally turning the gland around on an axis.
All of these factors make this technique a valuable alternative for women who experience extreme sagging and are ready to get something off their chest. According to the report, “PALM is a safe and reliable option for breast reduction and is indicated for patients with massive breast ptosis [sagging].” If you’ve been considering your options for chest renovation (as I like to call it), consult with your surgeon to determine if power-assisted liposuction is the best technique to update your shape. At the present insurance carriers may not consider a PALM Breast Reduction as a covered service.
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