NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

TAKING AWAY THE FAT

June 18, 2004

Despite the popularity of liposuction in removing excess fat, it does not replace diet and exercise in terms of preventing diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, according to a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Samuel Klein and researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine studied 15 obese women -- seven of them with type 2 diabetes -- before and after liposuction surgery. The researchers found:

  • Liposuction decreased abdominal fat by 44 percent in the normally healthy women and by 28 percent in the diabetic women.
  • Liposuction did not significantly change insulin sensitivity, blood pressure, blood lipids or indicators associated with coronary heart disease.
  • Liposuction did not provide any metabolic benefits that are normally associated with eating fewer calories and exercising.

However, the study did reveal good news for liposuction patients. LeRoy Young, a former professor of plastic surgery at Washington University, noted that in previous liposuctions, usually no more than 5 liters of fat per patient was removed, but the previous study has shown that four times that amount can be safely removed.

Source: Jim Dryden, "No Medical Benefit from Liposuction: Diabetes and Heart Disease Risk is Unchanged After Fat is Removed," Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, June 16, 2004. Samuel Klein, et. al., "Absence of an Effect of Liposuction on Insulin Action and Risk Factors for Coronary Heart Disease," New England Journal of Medicine 350, no. 25, June 27, 2004.

 

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