NEW YORK – Liposuction that removes large amounts of body fat can be a safe option for managing obesity in select patients, a new study suggests.
Traditionally, liposuction was used for so-called body contouring — removing small pockets of excess fat to reshape a person's figure. But in more recent years, as liposuction techniques have advanced, the procedure has also been used to remove large amounts of fat in obese patients.
Studies have suggested that such "large-volume" liposuction can be safely done in healthy, carefully selected patients.
These latest findings, from a study of 60 healthy obese women, add to evidence that large-volume liposuction is effective, and relatively low-risk.
None of the patients suffered a major complication from the procedure, according to Dr. Youseff Saleh and colleagues at Assiut University Hospital in Egypt.
Minor complications included skin irregularities in 20 percent of the patients, and seromas — a buildup of fluid in areas where fat had been removed — in 15 percent, the researchers report in the International Archives of Medicine.
After four months, the women had lost about 30 pounds, on average, and also showed some of the benefits that come with weight loss, including lower blood pressure and blood sugar.
The findings, according to Saleh and his colleagues, show that large-volume liposuction "can be safely performed" and produce positive changes in a person's body shape and health.
The procedure is not right for all overweight adults, however.
In general, experts recommend that people consider it only if they are in good health both physically and mentally, and are willing to make long-term diet and lifestyle changes. They should also choose a surgeon experienced in large-volume liposuction, and have the procedure at a hospital or surgery facility equipped to deal with any complications that could occur.