Liposuction may do more than just slim down your waistline — it might also help your heart, a medical study suggests.
Within three months of the liposuction surgery, patients’ triglyceride levels had dropped an average of 43 percent, according to a report presented at an annual meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons in Denver.
Triglycerides, fats in the blood, have been linked in other studies to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
The new findings were a surprise even to the study’s author, Dr. Eric Swanson, a cosmetic surgeon in practice in Leawood, Kansas.
“It made sense that if you reduced fat mass that might reduce circulating triglycerides,” Swanson said. “But I didn’t think the effect on the body’s fat scores would be enough to make a significant difference in triglycerides.”
The study looked at 322 surgery patients (270 women and 52 men) who came in for liposuction and/or a tummy tuck. One reason Swanson didn’t expect to see a strong link between liposuction and triglyceride levels was that the majority of the patients — 78 percent — were in the normal to overweight range. Only 22 percent were considered obese.
The procedure also led to a decrease in the numbers of white blood cells circulating in the blood, Swanson said. And this suggests that the removal of fat is reducing inflammation, which is also thought to be involved in the development of cardiovascular disease.
While cautioning that the study is small, cardiologist Dr. Nehal N. Mehta said its findings were very interesting and should prompt more research on the subject.