Bad news, good news
The bad news about the question "does liposuction fat come back?" is...
Yes, research shows that it can.
A human study now confirms several animal studies.
Researchers at the University of Colorado in Denver enrolled 32 non-obese women for a randomized trial. Fourteen women received suction lipectomy on their thighs, hips, or abdomens, and the remaining eighteen women were measured as controls without lipo surgery.
Both groups agreed to refrain from lifestyle changes during the study. Also those women in the non-surgical control group would be offered their chosen surgeries with a discounted cost at the end of the study.
The doctors took measurements for both groups at six weeks, six months, and one year.
While there were obvious immediate differences, after one year, the total body fat percentage measurement showed no significant differences between the two groups (Hernandez TL et al, Fat redistribution following suction lipectomy: defense of body fat and patterns of restoration, Obesity, Silver Springs, April 7, 2011).
From saddlebag thighs to belly fat
Among the women receiving liposuction, only those who had the surgery on their thighs maintained a significant loss.
In general, the women regained the fat onto their upper abdomens.
How is that possible?
Animal studies show that there is compensation for surgically removed fat deposits by increases in the mass of other other fatty areas.
Both the size and number of fatty cells are increased without a detectable increase in food intake, and blood factors may be involved (Bueno AA et al, White adipose tissue re-growth after partial lipectomy in high fat diet induced obese wistar rats, J Physiol Sci, Jan 2011, p55-63; and Hausman DB et al, Compensatory growth of adipose tissue after partial lipectomy: involvement of serum factors, Exp Biol Med, June 2004, p512-520).
Does liposuction fat come back? The good news...
One animal study showed that post-surgical exercise training changed the adipose tissue metabolism, reduced the compensatory increase in adipose tissue, and decreased overall body fat compared to sedentary controls (Habitante CA et al, Exercise training in rats impairs the replenishment of white adipose tissue after partial lipectomy, Eur J Appl Physiol, June 2010, p371-377).
But what about the human study?
In that study, the women who had liposuction were very happy with the results, according to Dr. Teri Hernandez.
And after the study was completed, half of the women in the control group still elected to have their surgeries.
Cost of liposuction surgery
In the United States, the number of liposuction procedures performed by certified members of the American board of Plastic Surgery ® and others is 198,251 in 2009 at a cost of $548,888,786.
Other reports show up to 450,000 lipo procedures annually.
As with all surgical procedures, there may be individual risks or side effects which the treating physician will explain.
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