Liposuction became popular in the 80’s as a way to sculpt an aesthetically pleasing body. Could the effect of removing fat tissue also prevent or help to control Type 2 diabetes and heart and blood vessel disease? That is what scientists at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, United States, wanted to know.
In July of 2017, the Annals of Plastic Surgery reported on a search of current literature about liposuction and health. Researchers reviewed 12 studies, which included a total of 364 participants. Overall, the average body mass index (BMI) before liposuction was 30.7 which is classified as obese. On average, the participants were found to have had 7,440 ml of fat removed. After the procedure, their BMI dropped to 28.4 which means they were then classed as being overweight…
- seven of the studies revealed lowered cholesterol levels after surgery.
- adiponectin, a hormone made by the fat cells, decreased in four studies and
- TNF-alpha, an inflammatory molecule, decreased significantly in two of the studies.
The participants in all of the abovementioned studies had large-volume liposuction, defined as 3.5 liters of fat (7/8 of a gallon), or more. From these results, the researchers concluded large volume liposuction could be helpful for more than appearances. It could turn out to be one way of preventing or controlling Type 2 diabetes and heart and blood vessel disease.
People who decide to have liposuction or lipo as it is often called can have either local or general anesthetic. A cannula, a tool like a large needle, is inserted between skin and muscle and a pump or large syringe is used to suction out the fat…
- sometimes a solution of saline (salt water), a mild painkiller, and epinephrine (like adrenalin) is injected to make the procedure easier and prevent too much blood loss.
- ultrasound may also be used to liquefy the fat before it is removed.
Fat cells removal does not necessarily make for permanent weight loss. A healthy diet and exercise are necessary as well. After liposuction, the body can still make and store fat but will store it in other places. Not the outcome any of us would want.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons warns liposuction is not a substitute for a healthy diet and exercise. It recommends the procedure only for sculpting specific parts of the body, such as the abdominal area or hips.
Will more research make large volume liposuction a standard of practice? Time and more study will determine the answer.