Abdominal liposuction triggers a compensatory increase in visceral fat, which is correlated with cardiovascular disease, but this effect can be counteracted by physical activity, according to a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, a publication of The Endocrine Society.
Liposuction is one of the most popular aesthetic surgery procedures performed worldwide, but its long-term impact on health remains unclear. Previous studies have shown that the immediate decrease in body fat following liposuction may affect body composition and metabolic profile by triggering feedback mechanisms of body fat regain. The current study investigated the effects of liposuction on body fat distribution and whether physical activity could prevent fat regain.
"We found that removing adipose tissue from the body, as liposuction does, may result in a decrease in total energy expenditure and compensatory growth of visceral fat which is associated with heart disease," said Fabiana Braga Benatti, PhD, of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil and lead author of the study. "The good news is that exercise training was effective in counteracting this compensatory growth. If someone chooses to undergo liposuction, it is very important, if not essential, that this person exercises after the surgery."
In this study 36 healthy women underwent a small-volume liposuction of the abdomen. Two months after the surgery, the women were randomly allocated into two groups; one group was put on a 4-month exercise program, and the other was not. Liposuction was effective in reducing subcutaneous abdominal fat, but after six months the group that did not exercise showed a significant ten percent increase in visceral fat and decreased energy expenditure when compared to study participants who exercised.
"We believe patients should be informed of the possible compensatory visceral fat growth and the potential health risks associated with a liposuction procedure," said Benatti. "Additionally, health professionals are encouraged to recommend exercise training as an intervention following liposuction surgery."
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The original article, "Liposuction Induces a Compensatory Increase of Visceral Fat which Is Effectively Counteracted by Physical Activity: A Randomized Trial" appears in the July 2012 issue of JCEM.