Liposuction to Improve Health?

Liposuction for health improvement has been a topic of discussion among members of the bariatric plastic surgery community for quite some time. This has been a topic of particular interest to the bariatric plastic surgery community because obese people often have other health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

There have been conflicting reports associated with the idea that liposuction offers health improvement benefits. Diet induced weight loss is conclusively associated with health benefits. Yet, in 2004, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study which demonstrated that liposuction does not offer the same health improvements as diet induced weight loss. There have also been numerous other studies which have indicated that there is not a shift in metabolic activities following liposuction. In fact, it’s been said that 300,000 deaths in the U.S. are associated with inactivity and poor dietary habits. So, identifying improvements to health is important.

In the final analysis, there may be one health benefit associated with liposuction for the obese. Many obese people have difficulty walking because of fat on their legs, knees and ankles. This factor creates many additional problems when we consider the sedentary lifestyle that such obese people must contend with due to excess fat. Today, obese people with excess fat on the knees, ankles and legs may benefit from liposuction. There are smaller cannulas available to treat areas such as the knees and ankles. The inner and outer thighs may be treated with liposuction as well. In fact, liposuction may be performed under sedation and local anesthesia which is associated with less risk than general aesthesia. The loss of such fat often results in improved mobility which allows obese people to participate in normal daily activities, including exercise. This, in turn, contributes to an improvement in health. Equally important, liposuction for the obese may improve quality of life.

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