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Liposuction not a weight loss fix

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Fat removed during liposuction eventually comes back, say investigators.

In a first human study, researchers found fat removed with liposuction eventually returns.

According to Teri L. Hernandez, PhD, RN and Robert H. Eckel, MD, at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, 450,000 liposuction procedures are performed each year to get rid of fat that the researchers found returns to other parts of the body.

Eckel explains the finding is significant because it shows the brain regulates body fat in ways that aren’t understood.

Eckel says,” We think the brain somehow knows how much fat is on board and responds in a manner to regulate that weight. That's why preventing obesity is so important".

The researchers originally discovered fat returns in rodents after it’s surgically removed. They’ve confirmed the finding in humans for the first time.

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The study, published in the journal Obesity, showed fat tends to return to the upper abdomen, shoulder and triceps one year after liposuction.

"The fact that fat returned is of great interest to us as scientists. It supports the idea that levels of body fat are very tightly regulated by mechanisms we have yet to uncover," said Eckel.

The study showed after one year, fat removed from the thigh was redistributed to the abdomen. Initial body fat loss in the women studied was 2.1 percent. One year after the procedure, the authors noted the difference in body fat "was no longer significant".

Hernandez explained the study participants were happy with the results of liposuction that provided the desired cosmetic results. The message he says, is liposuction is not a weight loss procedure.

The finding shows fat after liposuction comes back but in different areas. Though the procedure is cosmetically pleasing, weight loss from liposuction is temporary.

Obesity , (7 April 2011) | doi:10.1038/oby.2011.64
"Fat Redistribution Following Suction Lipectomy: Defense of Body Fat and Patterns of Restoration"
Teri L. Hernandez et al