Study shows liposuction and tummy tuck boost self-esteem
We’ve all heard it: Cosmetic surgery procedures may help to improve self-esteem. But can liposuction really make you feel better about yourself? Chances are, the answer is yes! Eric Swanson, MD, a plastic surgeon in Dallas Tx., reports that when you double up, combining liposuction with abdominoplasty (tummy tuck), the end result (physical and psychological) only gets better.
The overall value in Dr. Swanson’s study is that the results may provide both surgeons and patients with a better idea of what can truly be expected with regard to recovery time and realistic expectations of results.
A total of 360 patients who had abdominal liposuction (n = 219), tummy tuck (n = 13), or both (n = 128) participated in in-person interviews an average of 4 months post surgery. They answered questions related to recovery, results, complications, psychological factors and more. Study participants were 85% female with an average age of 42 years.
The majority of patients underwent liposuction either alone or in combination with tummy tuck (n = 347). While those with liposuction alone experienced a significantly faster recovery (by 10 days) and less pain compared with the combined liposuction-abdominoplasty patient group (p ≤ .01 and p < .001, respectively), those in the liposuction-abdominoplasty group reported a significantly higher satisfaction rating with results (p < .001).
On a scale of 1 to 10, patients who had an abdominoplasty (with or without liposuction) rated their results higher (average of 9) than those who had liposuction only (average of 8), but the highest satisfaction levels reported were with those patients who had combined liposuction and abdominoplasty.
But the true test: Would they do it again? Nearly all (98%) of the patients in the liposuction-abdominoplasty group said yes.
In the end, whether patients had liposuction with or without abdominoplasty, overall patient satisfaction was high (89%). Of all patients, 70% reported improvements in quality of life and 86% experienced improved self-esteem.
In Dr. Swanson’s own words, “Liposuction and abdominoplasty, individually and in combination, produce high rates of patient satisfaction and reliably improve self-esteem.”
Liposuction patients are usually after one thing: a better-looking body. But a new study suggests the cosmetic procedure that removes fat from well-padded areas of the body may also reduce harmful fat circulating in the blood.
Research to be presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in Denver was aimed at measuring triglyceride levels in 229 people having liposuction. In people with normal triglyceride levels, cosmetic surgery made no difference. But among people who started out with high triglycerides, blood tests taken three months after surgery showed a 43% reduction in triglycerides.
That’s about twice the reduction people usually get by taking cholesterol-lowering medications. There was no change in other cholesterol or glucose levels.
The study, led by Dr. Eric Swanson, a plastic surgeon in Leawood, Kan., also found that white blood cell counts fell 11% after liposuction. White blood cells are linked to inflammation in the body and are associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s not known how long the reduction in triglycerides lasts, however, and whether the surgery can actually lower the risk of heart disease. Moreover, the study raises questions about which types of fat in the body are really harmful.
“For years, it has been assumed that visceral fat surrounding the internal organs has greater metabolic importance and is more directly linked to cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk than ‘subcutaneous fat’ that lies under the skin,” Swanson said in a news release. “These new findings support recent studies suggesting subcutaneous fat, which can be reduced by liposuction, is just as metabolically important.”