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Photographic Measurements in 301 Cases of Liposuction and Abdominoplasty Reveal Fat Reduction without Redistribution

Swanson, Eric M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: August 2012 - Volume 130 - Issue 2 - p 311e–322e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3182589ef7
Cosmetic: Original Articles
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Background: There are no published studies of liposuction or abdominoplasty in a large number of patients using measurements of body dimensions. In the absence of rigorous data, some investigators have proposed that fat returns after liposuction.

Methods: A prospective study was undertaken among predominantly nonobese consecutive patients undergoing 301 liposuction and abdominoplasty procedures meeting the study criteria (inclusion rate, 70.7 percent). Lower body dimensions were measured using standardized photographs taken before and at least 3 months after surgery. Upper body measurements were compared between women who underwent simultaneous cosmetic breast surgery (n = 67) and a group of women who had breast surgery alone (n = 78) to investigate the possibility of fat redistribution.

Results: The average weight change was a loss of 2.2 lbs after lower body liposuction (p < 0.01) and 4.6 lbs when combined with abdominoplasty (p < 0.001). Liposuction significantly reduced abdominal, thigh, knee, and arm width (p < 0.001). Midabdominal and hip width were more effectively reduced by lipoabdominoplasty than liposuction alone (p < 0.001). There was no difference in upper body measurements when comparing patients who had simultaneous liposuction and/or abdominoplasty with patients who had cosmetic breast surgery alone. Measurements in patients with at least 1 year of follow-up (n = 46) showed no evidence of fat reaccumulation.

Conclusions: Both liposuction and abdominoplasty are valid techniques for long-term fat reduction and improvement of body proportions. There is no evidence of fat regrowth.


Leawood, Kans.

From the Swanson Center.

Received for publication January 18, 2012; accepted February 29, 2012.

Disclosure:The author has no financial interests to disclose. This study received no outside funding.

Eric Swanson, M.D.; Swanson Center, 11413 Ash Street, Leawood, Kans. 66211,

©2012American Society of Plastic Surgeons