New Study: Patients Show Sustained Weight Loss after Tummy Tuck

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Removal of Fat Cells May Affect Appetite in the Long Term

For many people, a tummy tuck can lead to “significant and lasting weight loss,” according to a study in the latest issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery®.

According to Dr. Rex Edward Moulton-Barrett, the results may be caused by increased feelings of satiety after the surgery. Certain “neuroendocrine mechanisms” may also play a role in the weight loss after abdominoplasty.

The study involved 20 women who had tummy tuck surgery, a procedure that eliminates excess fat and skin on the abdomen. Through the procedure, each patient had about 5 pounds of tissue removed, on average.

After one year, 14 of the 20 patients showed sustained weight loss, decreasing in weight by an average of 4.5 percent of their original BMI. The other six patients showed some degree of weight loss after tummy tuck surgery, but regained weight later.

Sustained weight loss was more likely for women who had a greater amount of excess tissue removed during the tummy tuck. Out of the 14 patients who showed long-term weight loss, 12 of them had over 4.5 pounds of tissue removed during their tummy tuck.

How Can Cosmetic Surgery Promote Weight Loss?

The key to weight loss after a tummy tuck seems to be increased satiety. Three-fourths of the subjects reported a feeling of fulness after eating or throughout the day.

While many people around the U.S. are candidates for gastric bypass or lap band surgery, others are not morbidly obese and therefore do not meet the criteria for bariatric surgery.

More people are candidates for a tummy tuck because they want to improve the appearance of their abdomen. “Whether or not long-term weight reduction is associated with abdominoplasty has been little investigated and remained controversial,” says the study authors.

While further research would be necessary to understand the effects of tummy tuck on weight loss, the study supports the hypothesis that removal of fat cells can also make someone feel satiated with less food – especially those who were overweight or obese before the surgery.

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