Liposuction vs. Bariatric Surgery

liposuction vs bariatric surgeryLiposuction has been around since the mid 1970’s and is now one of the most popular plastic surgery procedures in the country, with more than 450,000 operations performed each year.  However, it is not a weight loss procedure, but rather a surgical method of changing one’s shape. Liposuction has been in the news lately when a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine found that after liposuction, fat eventually returns within one year, and is redistributed to other areas of the body.

Data in animal models have shown that after surgical removal of fat, it tends to return to other areas. This study is the first randomized controlled trial in humans and was published in the most recent edition of the journal Obesity. The findings indicated that the most common areas of redistribution were the upper abdomen and around the shoulders and triceps of the arms.

We spoke to Dr. Helmuth Billy of Dr. Billy Bariatrics who explained more about the common confusion between liposuction and bariatric surgery. “This is an important study as it emphasizes the important difference between liposuction and bariatric surgery. The researchers compared women who underwent liposuction versus a group who had no treatment. They found that if liposuction is used to remove body fat, the body fat eventually returns within one year.”

Dr. Billy says potential patients should understand that “the take home message is that liposuction is a cosmetic procedure for resculpting small amounts of unwanted body fat. Liposuction is not a weight loss operation. Bariatric surgery, however, is a stomach operation which reduces caloric intake and the way fat is deposited. Bariatric surgery can achieve a sustained and lasting weight loss for the treatment of morbid obesity. Although liposuction might seem attractive, it does not achieve the results in improved health and durable weight loss that is achieved through bariatric surgery. For patients with a BMI greater than 35 who are interested in weight loss, bariatric surgery is the best option.”

By Emma Squillace

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