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Study Shows Liposuction May Provide Unforeseen Health Benefits


Kansas, March 8, 2013 - Although liposuction is familiar to everyone as a cosmetic procedure, a new study reveals it may also lower fat levels in the blood.

Over three hundred liposuction patients underwent analysis of fat levels in their blood, measured as triglycerides, before and after surgery. A high level of these fat molecules is well-known to increase the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, causing strokes and coronary artery disease. The study findings reveal that liposuction, which reduces the total amount of body fat, also reduces triglyceride levels in men and women who have at-risk levels before surgery.

“It wasn’t a small decrease,” says Dr. Eric Swanson, the plastic surgeon who led the study. Liposuction in patients with elevated triglyceride levels before surgery produced a 43% reduction 3 months after surgery. Dr. Swanson notes that the impact of liposuction on triglyceride levels was greater than the effect of a medication commonly prescribed to treat patients with excessively high levels. Results were similar between men and women. The study also discovered a significant reduction in white blood cell counts, which are increased in inflammatory conditions. Lower levels are known to be healthier. Cholesterol levels were unchanged.

“If we reduce the volume of fatty tissue in the body by liposuction, the levels of those substances produced by fat cells, like triglycerides, are also reduced,” Dr. Swanson explains. He notes that liposuction should not replace medical treatment in patients with high triglyceride levels: “I don’t think you should have the procedure necessarily with that as your objective, but if you’re a candidate anyway it sure doesn’t hurt.” Dr. Swanson cautions that any health benefits have not yet been evaluated in long-term studies, and liposuction does not replace the need for proper diet and exercise.

The study reveals that the reduction in triglyceride levels correlated with the amount of fat removed in patients who were close to their ideal body weight, possibly because liposuction in these patients creates a greater percentage of body fat reduction. Triglyceride levels did not change significantly among patients who had normal levels before surgery.

This landmark study, the first to report a potential health benefit from liposuction, was published in the Journal of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, the official publication of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
About Dr. Swanson and the Swanson Center
Dr. Swanson is a highly-regarded advocate of evidence-based medicine, which is the application of science to evaluate the effectiveness of plastic surgery procedures. Dr. Swanson has presented his findings at international meetings and in numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Swanson is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He practices exclusively cosmetic surgery at the Swanson Center, in the greater Kansas City area.


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