A new study has revealed that the fat removed by liposuction returns and gets "redistributed upstairs" – around the shoulders, arms and upper abdomen after a year.
Rudolph Leibel, an obesity researcher at the University of Columbia, told The New York Times that the body controls the number of fat cells as carefully as it controls the amount of fat. When a fat cell dies, it grows a new one to replace it, reports the Independent.
Liposuction, however, surgically destroys the fishnet structure under the skin, which may be why the fat cells don''t regrow in the place from which they were removed. Instead the body compensates for their loss by growing new fat cells in other areas.
"It's another chapter in the ''You can't fool Mother Nature'' story,Leibel said.
The study involved 32 women aged in their mid-thirties and of average weight. Just under half (14) had a modest amount of fat removed by liposuction from their hips and thighs, while the remainder (18) acted as controls.
Identical measurements of all the women were carried out at six weeks, six months and a year, which revealed how the body "defends" its fat.
After six weeks the treated patients had lost 2.1 per cent of their fat, compared to 0.28 per cent in the control group, but this difference had disappeared at one year. Though the women''s thighs remained thinner after a year, the missing fat had found its way back to their stomachs.
The study was recently published in Obesity.