Dermatologic Surgery

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Fat Redistribution Following Suction Lipectomy: Defense of Body Fat and Patterns of Restoration
Hernandez TL, Kittelson JM, Law CK, et al. Obesity. 2011;19:1388-1395.

After liposuction, does the fat come back? This prospective, randomized, controlled study decided to try and answer the question. Researchers recruited 32 non-obese women with disproportionate fat bulges in the lower abdominal region, hips or thighs to undergo small-volume liposuction in these areas. The study authors examined if and to what extent adipose tissue returns and whether they could determine a redistribution pattern. Body measurements were taken using dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), treatment area circumference, skin thickness, and MRI for the torso and thighs. Patients were randomized to one of two groups: 14 patients (group 1) underwent liposuction and 18 patients (group 2) served as control. All patients committed to maintaining their current lifestyle while participating in the study. Group 1 had liposuction within 2 to 4 weeks from baseline and measurements were taken again at the following 3 time periods post-treatment: 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year. In group 1, patients experienced a 2.1% decrease compared vs a .28% decrease in the control group (P = .0002), but the difference became smaller at the 6-month time point and lost significance by 1 year (P = .23). Ultimately, researchers found, the fat did come back, but it returned in a different place: “Following suction lipectomy, BF was restored and redistributed from the thigh to the abdomen,” they concluded.
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