Does Liposuction Improve Body Image and Symptoms of Eating Disorders?

Kai M. M. Saariniemi, PhD, MD; Asko M. Salmi, PhD, MD; Hilkka H. Peltoniemi, PhD, MD; Pia Charpentier, LP; Hannu O. M. Kuokkanen, MD

Disclosures

Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2015;3(7):E461 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Abstract

Background: Unpleasant attention to unfavorable fat may have harmful psychological effects in terms of body dissatisfaction. As a consequence, this may cause abnormal eating regulation. It has been noted that women interested in liposuction self-report more eating problems. As far as we know, there are no prospective studies with standardized instruments providing sufficient data regarding the effects of aesthetic liposuction on various aspects of quality of life. Nevertheless, publications on the effects of eating habits are lacking.

Methods: Sixty-one consecutive women underwent aesthetic liposuction. Three outcome measures were applied at baseline and at follow-up: the eating disorder inventory, Raitasalo's modification of the Beck depression inventory, and the 15-dimensional general quality of life questionnaire.

Results: The mean age at baseline was 44 years, and the mean body mass index was 26.0. Thirty-six (59%) women completed all outcome measures with a mean follow-up time of 7 months. A significant improvement from baseline to follow-up was noted in women's body satisfaction, and their overall risk for developing an eating disorder decreased significantly.

Conclusion: Aesthetic liposuction results in a significantly reduced overall risk for an eating disorder in combination with improved body satisfaction.

Introduction

Unpleasant attention to unfavorable fat may have harmful psychological effects in terms of body dissatisfaction.[1] As a consequence, this may cause abnormal eating regulation.[2] It has been noted that women reporting eating problems are significantly more interested in liposuction.[3] In a population-based study of women 18–35 years of age, half of the women had an interest in liposuction, whereas 20% of the women self-reported on eating disorder symptoms.[4] Studies reporting on psychosocial predictive factors among women interested in cosmetic surgery have included somewhat younger women.[3–7] However, same risk factors for body dissatisfaction or disordered eating can be noted also among middle-aged women.[8] As mental health problems predict interest for cosmetic surgery, and on the other hand, impairment in psychological symptoms has been noted after surgery,[7] it is crucial to prospectively evaluate these patients. Other aesthetic procedures, such as breast augmentation and abdominoplasty, have shown to reduce the risk for an eating disorder in addition to improving body image, self-esteem, and quality of life.[9–19] Unfortunately, publications on the effects of liposuction on eating habits are lacking. In addition, as far as we know, there are no prospective studies with standardized instruments providing sufficient data regarding the effects of aesthetic liposuction on various aspects of quality of life. Only some limited prospective data support positive psychological effects in terms of patient satisfaction after aesthetic liposuction, or improved body image, self-esteem, and psychological problems in heterogeneous patient populations.[9,10,20] Therefore, we decided to assess the effects of liposuction on eating disorder symptoms, psychological distress, and quality of life.

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