A study, led by Dr Teri L Hernandez and Dr Robert H Eckel of University of Colorado, has found that fat removed by liposuction comes back within a year. However, the fat will not return to the areas of the body where it was removed from, usually the thighs, lower abdomen and buttocks. Instead it will reappear elsewhere, typically around the shoulders, arms and upper abdomen.
The study involved 32 non-obese and healthy women of average weight and aged in their mid-30s. While 14 were randomly selected to have a modest amount of fat removed by liposuction from their hips and thighs, the remaining 18 acted as ‘controls’ who did not have the procedure. All the women agreed not to undergo ‘lifestyle changes’ while the research was being conducted.
Measurements of all the women were carried out at six weeks, six months and a year, to monitor the distribution of fat. After six weeks the treated patients had lost 2.1 per cent of their fat, compared with 0.28 per cent in the control group, but this difference had almost disappeared at one year. The fat did not return to the same place, but in general was ‘redistributed from the thigh to the abdomen’.
Obesity researchers say they are not surprised that the women’s fat came back. The body, they say “defends” its fat. If you lose weight, even by dieting, it comes back. And, the study shows, if you suck out the fat with liposuction, even if it’s only a pound, as it was for subjects in the study, it still comes back. “It’s another chapter in the ‘You can’t fool Mother Nature’ story,’ ” said Dr Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at Columbia University.
According to Dr Rudolph Leibel, the body controls the number of its fat cells as carefully as it controls the amount of its fat. Fat cells die and new ones are born throughout life. When asked why wouldn’t the women grow new fat cells in their thighs, Dr Samuel Klein, director, Centre for Human Nutrition, Washington University School of Medicine, said it might be because liposuction violently destroys the fishnet structure under the skin where fat cells live. [Source: New York Times, Daily Mail]
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