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Complication Rates Low with ‘Lipoabdominoplasty’

Study presents report on combined technique for Liposuction, Tummy tuck

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Liposuction and Abdominoplasty, or Tummy Tuck, are common cosmetic plastic surgery procedures that are often performed together. A combined technique called “lipoabdominoplasty” provides excellent patient outcomes with a low rate of complications, reports a study in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery-Global Open, the official open access medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

In the study, ASPS Member Surgeon Dr. Eric Swanson of Leawood, Kan., reported on his experience with combined liposuction and tummy tuck techniques in a large series of patients over 5 years. Outcomes after lipoabdominoplasty in 150 patients were compared to liposuction alone in 384 patients and abdominoplasty alone in 17 patients.

Patients initially underwent ultrasonic liposuction to remove excess fat from the abdomen and flanks (love handles). Liposuction was followed by a tummy tuck to eliminate excess abdominal tissue and loose skin.

Notably, no liposuction patients developed seromas (collections of fluid under the skin), which is attributed to limited ultrasound to reduce tissue trauma. The rate of seromas after abdominoplasty was only 5%.

The study demonstrates that by using shorter periods of ultrasound and eliminating the traditional use of electrodissection during surgery, the risk of seromas may be minimized while at the same time achieving excellent cosmetic outcomes.

“Liposuction and abdominoplasty, individually and in combination, may be performed safely with appropriate measures to reduce complications by minimizing tissue trauma,” the study reported.

The study also describes a modified form of general anesthesia (total intravenous anesthesia without muscle paralysis) to reduce the risk of blood clots in the legs. Only one patient in the series developed this complication and was successfully treated.

In a previous study, Dr. Swanson reported high patient satisfaction rates and improved self-esteem in patients who underwent Liposuction and/or Abdominoplasty. This was especially true for patients who had the combined lipoabdominoplasty technique. The new results show that, with attention to some basic measures to reduce risk, excellent cosmetic results are achieved with a low complication rate.

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS)

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