Liposuction may not lead to the weight loss that people are hoping for, researchers say. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, liposuction procedure reduces subcutaneous fat but increases the likelihood of storing greater amounts of abdominal fat. If these findings are correct, it would suggest that people undergoing weight reduction surgery are increasing their deposition of a more dangerous type of body fat.
Primary scientific investigator Fabiana Benatti from the University of Sao Paulo and her colleagues made the discovery. The Brazilian research team sought to determine the effects that liposuction would have on fat distribution, diabetes and other cardiometabolic risk factors in women.
To find their answer they selected 36 healthy, normal weight women whom volunteered to undergo a small abdominal liposuction procedure. Following the procedure the women were randomly assigned to an exercise or control (non-exercise) group to study liposuction's effects on the participants.
After 6 months of follow-up, results showed that liposuction successfully reducing participants' subcutaneous body fat. Unfortunately, women who did not exercise experienced a 10% increase in visceral body fat.
Put another way, although the non-exercising women might have looked good, their bodies were storing more visceral body fat. Visceral body fat is dangerous because it is associated with an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The only thing liposuction did for the non-exercise group was to make them less healthy.
Benatti's team concluded that while liposuction is effective in reducing subcutaneous body fat, it triggers accumulation in visceral body fat which can be counteracted through physical exercise.
The message that you can take from this small study is that while weight loss surgery can make you look more attractive, there's no substitute for good old fashioned exercise.
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Benatti F, Solis M, Artioli G, Montag E, Painelli V, Saito F, Baptista L, Costa LA, Neves R, Seelaender M, Ferriolli E, Pfrimer K, Lima F, Roschel H, Gualano B, & Lancha A Jr (2012). Liposuction Induces a Compensatory Increase of Visceral Fat Which Is Effectively Counteracted by Physical Activity: A Randomized Trial. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism PMID: 22539589
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