Background: Triglyceride levels of 150 mg/dL or greater are known to be associated with an increased cardiovascular risk and metabolic syndrome. This study investigated the effect of liposuction and abdominoplasty on lipid levels, complete blood count, and other parameters.
Methods: A prospective study was undertaken among 322 consecutive patients (270 women and 52 men) who presented for liposuction (n = 229), abdominoplasty with liposuction (n = 87), and abdominoplasty without liposuction (n = 6). The mean body mass index was 26.6 kg/m2 (range, 18.6 to 44.1 kg/m2). Ultrasonic liposuction using a superwet infusion technique was used in all cases, usually treating the lower body in women (64.4 percent) and the trunk in men (86.5 percent).
Results: Mean weight loss 3 months after liposuction was 2.2 lbs for liposuction alone (p < 0.001) and 4.2 lbs for liposuction and abdominoplasty (p < 0.05). Mean fasting triglyceride level decreased 25.7 percent after liposuction (p < 0.001). The triglyceride level decreased 43.0 percent (n = 56, p < 0.001) after liposuction in patients with preoperative levels of 150 mg/dl or greater. There was a significant decrease in white cell count after both liposuction and liposuction/abdominoplasty (p < 0.001). There were no significant changes in total, low-density lipoprotein, or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Fasting glucose was unchanged.
Conclusions: A significant (p < 0.001) reduction in triglyceride level in patients with elevated preoperative levels and a significant decrease in leukocyte count (p < 0.001) are favorable metabolic effects of liposuction and liposuction/abdominoplasty. Cholesterol levels are unaffected.
Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.