Liposuction and Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 million people in the United States have diabetes, and currently it’s the 7th leading cause of death. With such a vast epidemic, new solutions are now being looked at in order to control diabetes, including liposuction, a cosmetic, surgical procedure that removes fat from one or more parts of the body.

Liposuction’s price is one concern in how accessible this option is for people with diabetes. Although liposuction price can vary, it typically ranges from $2000 to $7000. Because liposuction is considered cosmetic surgery, and not currently approved for the treatment of diabetes, health insurance companies are not likely to pay for it, leaving the high price of the procedure at the consumer’s door.

As with any type of surgery, liposuction has its risks. It’s important to ensure that the surgeon is board certified. A board certified plastic surgeon is required to meet rigorous standards, including graduating from an accredited medical school and completing at least 5 years of additional training. Because board certification is not mandatory, it’s important to choose a surgeon who has opted to obtain board certification in plastic surgery, which requires both a written and oral exam.

Patients with diabetes have additional needs when having surgery as complications may arise. Although liposuction is cosmetic, it still holds the same risks as any other surgical procedure. Diabetics may have an increased risk of infection or have difficulty healing at the wound site following surgery. It’s important to discuss with a qualified, board certified plastic surgeon any concerns diabetes poses with surgery and the recovery process. Most surgeons may require that a patient’s diabetes is well controlled before undergoing any surgery, particularly an elective cosmetic procedure.

With diabetes, physicians are most concerned about the fat around the abdomen. This type of fat tends to be particularly insulin resistant. As the body produces insulin the larger fat cells of the abdomen can’t effectively use it. Since insulin is responsible for moving blood glucose, the body’s “fuel”, into the cells, when insulin is not used effectively, glucose remains in the blood stream resulting in high blood sugar.

Since liposuction can remove excess belly fat, it would seem to make sense that it would improve diabetes. Unfortunately, that’s not all together true. Liposuction may remove up to 10lbs of fat, but in a diabetic who has an excessive amount of belly fat to lose this may not be enough to facilitate a substantial improvement in blood sugar levels. Since most physicians recommend changes to diet and exercise, some diabetics may benefit from the ‘jump start’ in weight loss that liposuction brings. Physicians often struggle with diabetic patients adhering to lifestyle changes, and any motivation that brings about significant change may be beneficial.

Diabetes presents a host of challenges, and liposuction may be able to facilitate permanent lifestyle changes. However, the choice must be weighed against the liposuction price, the patient’s wiliness to diet and exercise to maintain the weight loss, and the surgical risks.


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