Sunday, May 1, 2011

Unintended Consequences of Liposuction

I admit the idea of liposuction has sometimes seemed slightly seductive to me. I'm one of those women who gains weight on her hips and thighs -- which I know is better for my health than if it were at my waist, but still. Wouldn't it be neat if, suddenly, it wasn't there?

Other Americans appear to agree with me because, unlike me, some of them have done something about it: Liposuction is the third most popular cosmetic surgery among both men and women.

Well, there's some bad news for those folks, and a bit of reinforcement for me in my decision to never seriously consider the option. A recent study has found that a year after liposuction, the fat that was surgically removed reappeared, and this time it had moved to parts of the body that are associated with greater health risks. Health blogger Peter Janiszewski described it this way:

Specifically, while fat removed from the thighs and buttocks tended to stay ‘off’, abdominal fat increased to essentially compensate for any initial fat reduction (regardless of whether or not abdominal fat was removed during the procedure). There was a particularly significant growth of fat in the visceral depot.

So, essentially, liposuction can permanently reduce fat stores in areas that may be beneficial to metabolic health (butt, hips and thighs) but increase fat stores in areas known to lead to metabolic problems (abdominal, specifically visceral fat).
Pretty damning stuff.

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