Weight Loss Procedures | Natural Health Blog

Liposuction and the Return of Fat

People are forever looking for the easy way out — a trick that will have them losing weight and looking better without making all the effort of dieting and exercising.  The offerings, such as liposuction, are certainly out there, and they are big business.  In the United States alone, more than 203,000 liposuctions were performed in 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, each of which costs several thousand dollars.

To many people, obviously, the assumed results of liposuction are worth undergoing a major surgical procedure, laying out plenty of money for something not covered by insurance, and spending weeks afterward healing to get rid of any lumps and bulges on their bodies.  But are the results that people assume they are going to get the results they actually get?

Unfortunately for the millions of people who have already undergone liposuction, a new study at the University of Colorado in Aurora shows it ain’t necessarily so — that any benefits may not be that long lasting.1

The researchers randomly placed 32 female volunteers into groups either receiving liposuction on their thighs or lower abdomens or as controls who did not have a liposuction procedure.  One year post-surgery, all of the fat that had been removed — an average of 5.8 pounds per woman — had come back.  But curiously, it did not return to its original site on the body.  Instead of on the thighs or lower abdomen, the fat was redistributed to the subjects’ upper abdomens or around the shoulders and triceps.

It seems that the essential structure of the fat cells in a particular region is destroyed when liposuction vacuums the fat out of that body part, leaving the area thinner for the long term because new fat cells can’t form.  But it doesn’t stop the body from producing new fat cells elsewhere, and if all of the bad habits that added the extra pounds in the first place are still ongoing, then the weight will be completely gained back, but in another area.

As much as women with traditional “pear” shapes, who carry extra weight around their thighs and hips, may not feel comfortable with they way they look, that type of distribution is actually less dangerous than having excess pounds around the upper body.  The fat that collects around the waist and upper abdomen is visceral fat, which surrounds the vital organs.  It contributes to inflammation and higher blood sugar levels, increasing the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  So while a woman might like the appearance of her new thin legs much better, she’s potentially shifting her extra weight in a very harmful way.

So resorting to liposuction is clearly not a good answer.  The fact is that the only way to get the body you want and keep it healthy is to change your way of life.  You must improve your diet, start a regular exercise regimen, and employ stress reduction techniques.  When you eat today’s typical meals filled with high glycemic foods, unhealthy fats, and sugars with little protein, the pounds pile on.  Fruits, vegetables, hypoallergenic proteins, and whole grains (for those who eat grains) provide plenty of nutrition and satiety without the calories found in unnatural processed foods.

But keep in mind that although diet alone may help you lose weight, it will not change the fat to muscle ratio in your body. Remember, it’s possible to be both anorexic and obese at the same time — to weigh 90 lbs, but carry 30% of that weight as fat. And that’s just not healthy.  Incorporate aerobic/interval workouts such as walking or bicycle riding to burn calories and resistance training with weights to increase muscle mass and fire up your metabolism.  Stretching is also key, as it works to reduce muscle tension, prevent injury, and increase circulation throughout the body, thereby also improving energy levels.

Putting a natural health plan into action will not only reduce fat more effectively than liposuction — which only works in one limited area — but will also optimize overall body weight and muscle to fat ratios, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, cancer, and diabetes.  Not only will you look better, but you will also feel so much better — a benefit that liposuction by itself cannot provide.


1 Hernandez, Teri L.; Kittelson, John M.; Law, et al. “Fat Redistribution Following Suction Lipectomy: Defense of Body Fat and Patterns of Restoration.” Obesity. 7 April 2011.  The Obesity Society. 23 May 2011. <http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/vaop/ncurrent/abs/oby201164a.html>.