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Medical Articles

Gabriel Doucas, Dimitri Liakos, Sheree Debbie Koonin


One of the adverse effects of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus is lipodystrophy, which is often associated with metabolic complications such as hyperlipidemia, increased cardiovascular risk factors, and altered body fat distribution. This is characterized by a dorsal hump, hypermastia, or abdominal pannus deformity. The reasons for corrective surgery are aesthetic, psychosocial, and medical benefits.  


This is a prospective study investigating 52 consecutive patients with ARV-induced lipodystrophy syndrome referred for surgical correction (liposuction for dorsal hump, abdominoplasty for increased abdominal pannus, and bilateral breast reduction for hypermastia). Fasting serum lipograms, including cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density cholesterol (HDL), and low-density cholesterol (LDL), were taken preoperatively and repeated 9–12 months post lipectomy/liposuction.


A subgroup of 35 patients with deranged preoperative triglycerides (P = 0.004), cholesterol (P = 0.001), and or LDL cholesterol (P = 0.017) showed a statistically significant (P < 0.05) decrease in postoperative levels. If preoperative lipogram values were normal, there is no statistically significant reduction postoperatively.


In ARV-associated lipodystrophy, when the preoperative fasting lipograms are deranged, then after surgical correction there is a statistically significant reduction in triglyceride, total cholesterol, and LDL levels. This influences their cardiovascular risk profile, mortality, morbidity, and quality of life.