Plastic surgery can be a great way to kick-start a healthy lifestyle for some; if you only go forliposuction, however, researchers say your health (and fat levels) could take a hit. In fact, evidence shows that if you don’t make an effort to maintain the fat-loss you get from liposuction, fat cells are likely to come back with a vengeance—instead of resurfacing under your skin, they’ll regenerate deeper in your abdomen, where fat storage is more correlated with certain health risks. The only solution, they say, is exercise.
Brazilian researchers at the University of São Paulo administered liposuction on 36 healthy but inactive women between the ages of 20 and 35. All had two and a half to three pounds of abdominal fat removed, and were then observed for the months following their surgery. Half regained the fat within six months, in the form of visceral fat—fat stored near the abdominal organs that’s associated with slowing metabolism and increased risk of heart disease.
The other half didn’t regain their fat; likely because they were randomly assigned an exercise program involving cardio and weight-lifting three times a week. These women actually lose fat in their bodies overall, and showed improved health by other markers, as well.
Researchers suspect that with the loss of body mass caused by liposuction could come a lower energy burn, or that the body overcompensates for the jolt to its fat levels by trying to store extra. Exercising can stave off the process, but a sedentary lifestyle probably can’t.
It seems pretty intuitive that remaining sedentary, even after liposuction, would lead to further weight gain over time, but the study’s authors insist that patients need to exercise following liposuction to avoid further health risks.
Sorry, but liposuction (and other weight loss surgeries) can’t replace exercise.