Many people approach liposuction with the hope that this procedure will aid them in controlling their weight. However, ever since the early days of liposuction, and even with some physicians preforming large volume liposuction, it has been clear that people who have liposuction do not end up weighing less. The standard mantra has been that liposuction, and almost certainly Zeltiq as well, are spot reduction measures and not weight reduction measures. However, until now there has not been a good explanation for this. After all, it seems logical that if a pound or two of fat were removed, the patient should end up weighing a pound or two less. A study recently published in the journal "Obesity" provides some explanations.
Doctors from the University of Colorado took a group of non-obese women with bulges on their abdomens and/or thighs. Half were given liposuction and half agreed to serve as controls, with the understanding that they could later have liposuction at reduced cost, if they chose to do so.
In the women who had the liposuction, the doctors found that the fat gradually returned, taking up to a year to do so. However, the fat did not return the the areas treated with liposuction. Instead it was redistributed to the upper body, the shoulders, upper arms and upper abdomen. It is not understood why the fat did not return at all to the areas of the body that were treated, but it may be that the liposuction destroyed some of the vessels and tissues that are necessary to support the fat.
The results of this study support animal studies in which rodents had fat surgically removed and the fat eventually came back, but not in the areas where the fat was removed. Apparently the body has a preferred number of fat cells and when some die or are otherwise removed, they are replaced. That doesn't mean that liposuction, Zeltiq and other fat removal techniques are worthless. The women who had liposuction as part of the study were happy with their results. And over 50% of the women who were in the control group chose to go ahead with the liposuction, despite the fact that they were aware of the results of the study.
Gerald N. Bock MD
Stockton & Lodi, CA