Power-asisted Liposuction Vibration Exposure and Safety Guidelines Print
The ASERF Scientific Research Committee and Board of Directors are pleased to announce the following grant award:

Researcher: Rolando Morales, MD

Grant Award: ASERF Interim Grant

Amount Awarded: $4,300

Project Name: Power-asisted Liposuction Vibration Exposure and Safety Guidelines

Project Summary:

Plastic surgeons are increasingly exposed to the hazard of hand-transmitted vibration as liposuction gains popularity, specifically for those using power-assisted liposuction (PAL) devices. With long-term use, this increases the risk of developing a group of insidious neurovascular symptoms termed hand-arm vibration syndrome (HAVS). HAVS manifests in debilitating and irreversible numbness and later painful vasospasm of the fingers (Raynaud’s phenomenon). Therefore, it is important to determine the safety limits and establish standardized guidelines for long-term exposure to PAL-associated vibration because the development of HAVS can be detrimental to a plastic surgeon’s career.

The proposed study will examine vibration emission of a commonly used PAL device under varying conditions of use in order to make relevant recommendations for plastic surgeons to minimize the risk of developing HAVS. This will be examined in the experiments of the following specific aims:

Aim 1: Determine PAL system vibration emission under various controlled conditions compared to manufacturer’s declared values.
Rationale: PAL manufacturers publish only one vibration emission value, however this measured under controlled laboratory conditions and will not be consistent under different conditions of use. These conditions include vibration of the handle without an attached cannula and with attached cannulas of different lengths/diameters.
Hypothesis: Vibration emission value will measure higher with increasing length and diameter of the cannula attached.

Aim 2: Determine PAL system vibration exposure under true conditions of use during surgery.  
Rationale: Vibration at the handle will change depending on the resistance applied at the cannula tip. For example, the PAL handle vibrates less intensely when the cannula is in the air compared to when it is being driven through fibrous tissue during surgery.
Hypothesis: Vibration exposure will measure higher during actual surgical use of the PAL system than that estimated from manufacturer specifications.

Aim 3: Create PAL surgical safety guidelines to minimize the risk of vibration induced health hazards for surgeons
Rationale: It is important to inform plastic surgeons about the use of PAL and the risk of HAVS as an occupational hazard. Vibration exposure during actual surgical use of the PAL system will differ from manufacturer calculations, therefore more accurate guidelines for safe surgical use should be calculated from on-the-job surgical data collected from this study.

Hypothesis: PAL surgical safety guidelines from this study will estimate a shorter safe duration of use compared to manufacturer guidelines.