New Study: Fat Removed Via Liposuction Doesn’t Come Back

  • Posted on: Aug 2 2012
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There is a very interesting study that was recently published in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).  From the ASPS website:

The new study by ASPS Member Surgeon Eric Swanson, MD, Leawood, Kansas, evaluated 301 patients having liposuction, either alone or in combination with abdominoplasty, using standardized photographs and computer-assisted measurements of body dimensions obtained preoperatively and at least three months after surgery. The study revealed no evidence of fat regrowth in treated areas of the arms, abdomen, or lower body. Additionally, upper body dimensions were unchanged after surgery, indicating no fat redistribution. Average reductions in hip measurements remained significant in patients followed one year or more after both liposuction and combined liposuction/abdominoplasty procedures. The average hip reduction was significant even among a subgroup of 34 patients who gained five pounds or more after surgery.

“Previous studies have evaluated small numbers of patients and used imprecise measuring techniques, limiting their power to reliably detect changes,” said Dr. Swanson. “Our study included a sufficient number of patients and used precise measurements, making the conclusions highly reliable. Patients can be reassured that their improvements will last and they need not worry about putting weight back on disproportionately.”

Dr. Swanson adds, “Of course, liposuction does not change your ability to gain or lose weight. Its value is in permanently reducing the number of fat cells in problem areas. For any given weight you will be in the future, your proportions will be better after liposuction, barring extremes in weight gain.”

The results of this study are in stark contrast to the one published in Obesity last year.  That study revealed that fat removed via liposuction appeared to return to other unoperated areas of the body, such as the arms.

I’ve been performing liposuction surgery for the past 11 years.  I’ve never had a patient claim that the fat removed from one area, such as the thighs, returned to another part of the body.  I inform my patients that, in general, if you keep your weight stable, the fat that is removed via liposuction doesn’t come back.  It’s nice to have some scientific proof of that now!


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Posted in: Plastic Surgery News

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