Liposuction and fat
You know that friend of a friend who told you she had liposuction of the belly once and that it caused her to become fat afterwards? Well, she was right. Liposuction, it turns out makes you fat!
As a cosmetic plastic surgeon, for me to say this is akin to blasphemy. I may even be kicked out of the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. Colleagues may stop talking to me. Plastic surgeons have forever been telling their cosmetic patients that liposuction is one of the pillars for a healthy and fulfilled life.
The triangle of life (a cousin of The Lion King‘s famed circle of life) consists of
- Healthy eating
Liposuction is part of the creed of cosmetic plastic surgeons. It’s what we do to remove fat from unwanted areas and banish it forever to… other areas! The latest research from a study in Brazil shows just that. Patients who had liposuction had a significant increase in visceral fat.
Plastic surgeons have of course known that if you have liposuction performed on your body but continue your diet in terms of quality and quantity as before the surgery, you will get fat again. I have often told patients that if they get fat after lipo, the fat will go to their secondary and tertiary body storage areas. For example, if you have liposuction of the abdomen and put on weight afterwards, the fat may go to your face, back or hips.
Now cosmetic plastic surgeons must say something else: “If you have liposuction and do not exercise, even though you may not gain weight, you will have an increase in visceral fat.”
Confused? Let’s see…
There are two main types of fat in our bodies with respect to this type of issue.
This is fat inside our body cavities: around our stomachs and intestines, around our hearts and inside our livers.
Visceral fat is bad. Numerous studies have correlated an increase in visceral fat with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Just think how bad this is for the force-fed geese who end up becoming foie gras—literally “fatty liver.” This fat cannot be suctioned away by liposuction; it reduces only with weight loss.
This is the fat that is under our skin. In various parts of the body it has variable thickness; there is very little skin fat under the skin of our lower legs in comparison with the amount of fat under the belly skin, which can be several inches thick if we are particularly tubby. This is the fat you can pinch. And if you can pinch an inch, you can have liposuction in that area. Less than an inch of fat and you risk disrupting the blood vessels that supply the skin with blood to keep it viable.
New research on liposuction
The latest research shows that even though you can have skin fat removed by liposuction, unless you stick to a moderate exercise and diet program after liposuction, you will have a gain in visceral fat. If you continue your hedonistic ways, liposuction will force the fat created by your body into the visceral area and increase your risk of death.
This is really no different than what we plastic surgeons have always told patients. You must have food control and exercise after liposuction or the fat will go elsewhere. We just didn’t know all the places it was going.