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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Jul;19(7):1388-95. doi: 10.1038/oby.2011.64. Epub 2011 Apr 7.

Fat redistribution following suction lipectomy: defense of body fat and patterns of restoration.

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Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Diabetes, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado, USA.


No randomized studies in humans have examined whether fat returns after removal or where it returns. We undertook a prospective, randomized-controlled trial of suction lipectomy in nonobese women to determine if adipose tissue (AT) is defended and if so, the anatomic pattern of redistribution. Healthy women with disproportionate AT depots (lower abdomen, hips, or thighs) were enrolled. Baseline body composition measurements included dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) (a priori primary outcome), abdominal/limb circumferences, subcutaneous skinfold thickness, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (torso/thighs). Participants (n = 32; 36 ± 1 year) were randomized to small-volume liposuction (n = 14, mean BMI: 24 ± 2 kg/m(2)) or control (n=18, mean BMI: 25 ± 2) following baseline. Surgery group participants underwent liposuction within 2-4 weeks. Identical measurements were repeated at 6 weeks, 6 months, and 1 year later. Participants agreed not to make lifestyle changes while enrolled. Between-group differences were adjusted for baseline level of the outcome variable. After 6 weeks, percent body fat (%BF) by DXA was decreased by 2.1% in the lipectomy group and by 0.28% in the control group (adjusted difference (AD): -1.82%; 95% confidence interval (CI): -2.79% to -0.85%; P = 0.0002). This difference was smaller at 6 months, and by 1 year was no longer significant (0.59% (control) vs. -0.41% (lipectomy); AD: -1.00%; CI: -2.65 to 0.64; P = 0.23). AT reaccumulated differently across various sites. After 1 year the thigh region remained reduced (0.77% (control) vs. -1.83% (lipectomy); AD: -2.59%; CI: -3.91 to -1.28; P = 0.0001), but AT reaccumulated in the abdominal region (0.64% (control) vs. 0.42% (lipectomy); AD: -0.22; CI: -2.35 to 1.91; P = 0.84). Following suction lipectomy, BF was restored and redistributed from the thigh to the abdomen.


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