Los Angeles residents are very accustomed to hearing about liposuction. Most of us know at least a couple of friends or relatives who have sought to reduce pockets of stubborn fat using liposuction. The change that one can experience with this procedure is truly amazing. As a plastic surgeon that has performed thousands of liposuction surgeries, for me it’s all in a day’s work. Because I stay at the forefront of the field by using the most advanced surgical techniques available, I know I can achieve consistently excellent results. I review and author many medical journal articles about liposuction. But when I saw a recent clinical study about liposuction possibly lowering cancer risk, I had to do a double take.
A group of researchers at Rutgers University was looking at skin cancer in mice. Ultraviolet (UV) exposure from the sun is, of course, the main cause of skin cancer. The researchers were investigating whether simple lifestyle changes like exercising more or consuming caffeine could reduce the number of cancers mice got when they were exposed to UV light. Apparently, both exercise and caffeine had a positive effect, and the mice got fewer cancers.
What does this have to do with liposuction?
Los Angeles’s image-conscious patient population is always looking for the quick and dramatic results that I can give them with my specialized liposuction techniques, but if you look a little deeper, liposuction can do some pretty amazing stuff. Now let’s look at the initial phase of the study: increasing exercise and caffeine levels in mice seems to protect against cancer. Well, what do exercising and drinking lots of caffeine do? They increase your metabolic rate. By jump-starting your metabolism, you burn fat. We already know that in humans, excess fat is linked to a variety of cancers, including breast, colon, pancreatic, and prostate cancers. Exactly why this is isn’t fully understood, but the researchers found that pads of abdominal fat produced certain proteins that stimulated the development and growth of cancer. Therefore, if fat induces cancer growth, why not just get physically get rid of the fat surgically?
Mice that have liposuction have a reduced cancer risk!
So the investigators took a bold yet very logical leap and decided to see what happened to these mice when their abdominal fat was removed by liposuction! Lo and behold, even when exposed to the same levels of dangerous UV radiation as their more corpulent counterparts, the mice who had liposuction not only had slimmer figures, they had 75-80% fewer cancers! If it’s true in mice, it might be true in humans. I would venture to say that a tummy tuck (Los Angeles patients’ frequent add-on to their liposuction surgery) might also accomplish the same thing. After all, with a tummy tuck, I can cut out significant quantities of that dangerous abdominal fat. But I don’t think researchers will get a grant to test out that theory by performing tummy tucks on morbidly obese mice (would this be considered a “Minnie Tummy Tuck?”) anytime soon.
Liposuction and tummy tuck as medical treatment?
To me, this study was very exciting news. Perhaps one day—maybe sooner than later—these powerful fat removal techniques will prove themselves to be much more than “superficial” cosmetic surgery. I, of course, cannot make any guarantees as to their efficacy in preventing cancer. But I can tell you that if you’ve been considering liposuction and/or a tummy tuck in Los Angeles, I can help you look and feel great. You can see some of my patients’ results in my before-and-after photo gallery. my specialty is minimally invasive techniques that yield beautiful, permanent results. Contact my office online or call us at (310)300-1779 and let me show you how I can help you!