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Matt Hlavacek, MD, DDS
Jason Baker, DDS



Can liposuction protect you from heart disease?

August 7, 2014, 1:17 am

health-benefits-of-liposuctionOne of the most popular of all plastic surgery procedures is liposuction. Who wouldn’t love a procedure that is able to address stubborn fat deposits that don’t respond to any amount of exercise or diet? In addition, liposuction may be used to address unwanted fat in a number of areas of the body and may be combined with other procedures, most frequently with a tummy tuck. Although it is too soon to come to any definitive conclusions, recent studies have shown that for some patients, liposuction may also have added health benefits.

The potential health benefits of liposuction

Along with liposuction’s body contouring abilities, the procedure may also have a positive impact on patients with elevated triglyceride and white blood cell count levels. Patients with elevated triglyceride levels, or high “bad” cholesterol, are at risk of developing heart disease, stroke, or diabetes, and those with elevated white blood cells, indicating inflammation in the body, are at risk for coronary artery disease, elevated blood pressure, and diabetes.

It isn’t entirely clear why or how liposuction reduces triglycerides or white blood cell counts, but both may translate to improved overall health for patients. By reducing these levels, the risks for heart-related illnesses, including heart attack and stroke, diabetes, and other conditions may be greatly reduced. Research indicates that men and women who undergo liposuction and benefit from reduced triglyceride and white blood cell counts are affected equally with an average of 43 percent reduction in triglycerides and an 11 percent reduction in white blood cell counts. When compared to some medications meant to reduce the amounts of triglycerides in the blood, 43 percent is a significant improvement; however, liposuction is not a substitute for managing triglycerides or white blood cell levels with medication, exercise, and diet.

What does this mean for patients?

As previously mentioned, it isn’t entirely clear what the long-term implications of these results will be for liposuction patients or for patients with elevated triglycerides and white blood cell counts. At the moment, it does appear that liposuction offers a two-for-one punch by providing body contouring along with improved cholesterol and inflammation levels. It has been believed that the fat between and around the internal organs is the important factor in considering cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk. However, these results related to liposuction indicate that subcutaneous fat, or fat beneath the skin may play a larger part than previously believed.

Patient health before undergoing liposuction

Of course, you do need to be healthy enough to undergo liposuction in the first place, and it is important to recognize that the data regarding triglyceride and white blood cell reduction related to liposuction is not definitive and requires further study. At present, liposuction should be used only for body contouring, and not as a method of controlling cholesterol or white blood cell levels.

The ideal liposuction patient is already at or near their ideal weight with good muscle and skin tone, and should have a clear understanding of what liposuction can and can’t do. They should be overall healthy people without serious medical conditions or illness that may cause healing to be slow or difficult. Such conditions may include, but are not limited to diabetes, heart disease, or certain autoimmune disorders. Liposuction patients should also be non-smokers, as smoking has a direct impact on the body’s ability to pump nourishing, oxygen-rich blood throughout the body and to the treatment areas.

To find out if liposuction might be right for you, call Kansas City Surgical Arts today at (816) 286-4126 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Matt Hlavacek. We look forward to meeting you.