For years, plastic surgeons have emphasized the fact that liposuction is not a substitute for healthy diet and regular exercise. A new study supports this advice, showing that exercise is critical after liposuction, because it helps keep off deep belly fat.

In Brazil, doctors enrolled 36 women in a study. Before they had liposuction, they were normal weight and sedentary. All had liposuction to get rid of small amounts of abdominal fat. Two months later, half were assigned to an exercise program while half remained sedentary.

Six months after surgery, the women still had flatter abdomens, but the sedentary group showed a significant 10 percent increase in visceral fat compared to before the surgery.

The group who exercised after liposuction did not see an increase in visceral fat.

Visceral Fat Linked to Health Problems

The group who gained visceral fat is more at risk for health problems. This type of fat is linked to serious problems like diabetes and heart disease.

Abdominal liposuction, according to these researchers, doesn’t cause fat regrowth. It does however, "trigger a compensatory increase of visceral fat, which is effectively counteracted by physical activity.”

They said it was unclear why patients had an increase in visceral fat. The lead author of the study, Fabiana Benatti, tells Reuters.“we believe it may be because this particular fat depot is more metabolically active than the other fat depots.”

Exercise after Abdominal Liposuction

This small study suggests that staying active after liposuction will prevent an increase in visceral fat. “If one should choose to undergo liposuction, it is very important, if not essential, that this person exercises after the surgery,” according to Benatti.

Before the procedure, speak with your plastic surgeon about the liposuction results you expect, and what kind of exercise regimen is best after the procedure.

Photo credit:?lululemon athletica, on Flickr