New Study Finds Fat Comes Back After Lipo

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Think lipo is the answer to all your belly troubles? Don’t rush into it without this information. Recently, a new study was published in the journal Obesity that has caused quite a stir about what happens after liposuction.

In the study, researchers observed nonobese women who received liposuction on their thighs and lower abdomen as well as nonobese women who didn’t have the procedure done (this was a control group). The result was that the fat came back. After a year, patients regained the amount that had been removed. Curiously, it didn’t return to the treated area of the thighs and lower abdomen. It appeared higher up on the body instead, most noticeably in the upper abdomen. Some of the fat also relocated to the arms in the shoulders and triceps.

“Once an area is treated with liposuction, there are less fat cells there,” says La Jolla, CA, plastic surgeon Robert Singer, MD. “So if a patient gains weight after surgery, fat returns and it goes to all areas where there are fat cells, including those that have not been suctioned; however these untreated areas contain more fat cells, and therefore have more potential to enlarge.” He adds that the findings should be confirmed by additional research in more studies.

Clearly, liposuction is a great option for getting rid of unwanted fat in selected areas, but only after we discover they are resistant to diet and exercise. Think of it as a means of contouring, not weight reduction-especially since there seems to be a significant chance the fat can come back somewhere else.

“Patients need to understand that liposuction is not a treatment for weight loss,” says Dr. Singer. “Oftentimes, once patients remove the fat from the area that bothers them, they appear thinner and use that as a new guideline for their physical state. So they aren’t as compelled to be careful about their lifestyle choices. To maintain the benefits, you need to have a healthy lifestyle and maintain your post-operative weight.”

It’s also important to point out that the vast majority of patients are happy with their results and, if given the option, would repeat the procedure. In fact, of the women in the control group that didn’t undergo liposuction, half still asked to have the procedure done even after being informed of the study’s results.

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