Does liposuction offer more than just cosmetic perks? According to a study presented at last month’s American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) annual meeting, this popular plastic surgery procedure may have desirable effects that extend beyond the aesthetic—effects that could potentially even be life-saving.
The study’s author, Dr. Eric Swanson, says he and his colleagues found that many of the 322 patients whose data they reviewed experienced a reduction in triglyceride levels after undergoing liposuction. Those who had normal levels prior to the procedure maintained similar levels afterward; but 62% of those who started with high levels (greater than 150 mg/dL) showed a 43% reduction after liposuction, bringing them down to a normal count.
Why is this important? Because high triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease, stroke), metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes. Traditionally, visceral fat (the fat that surrounds the internal organs) has been regarded as having a more important metabolic role than subcutaneous fat (the fat just under the skin, which is the type removed during liposuction). This study suggests that subcutaneous fat may play a larger part than previously thought—and if this turns out to be true, it means that getting liposuction could directly lower a person’s risk for health threats like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
It’s clear that more studies need to be conducted before any solid conclusions about liposuction’s effect upon patient health can be reached—namely, following up with patients involved with this study in years to come to find out whether they truly do experience fewer related medical issues. But these findings are promising, and great news for those who have high triglyceride levels, especially if you’re already considering liposuction!