Modified vertical abdominoplasty in the massive weight loss patient

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2007 May;119(6):1911-21; discussion 1922-3. doi: 10.1097/01.prs.0000259192.79203.6f.


Background: Patients with massive weight loss following bariatric surgery are now presenting in large numbers for body contouring. To achieve optimum cosmetic results in these patients, a comprehensive circumferential approach is usually required that includes the lateral thighs and buttocks. For a number of reasons, many patients are not candidates for these comprehensive procedures. Some patients view the circumferential procedures as too extensive or aggressive. Others have large hernias or other medical conditions that necessitate a more limited approach. Still others do not have sufficient resources to treat multiple areas.

Methods: A 2-year review of patients presenting with a chief complaint of anterior lower abdominal tissue excess as a consequence of massive weight loss following bariatric procedures was conducted. In 64 cases, patients opted for anterior-only treatment of the lower trunk.

Results: Average operative time in patients undergoing modified abdominoplasty alone was 2.5 hours. The mean mass of the excised panniculectomy specimens was 3.8 kg (range, 1.1 to 10.0 kg). The most common complication was wound dehiscence at the T-junction (27 percent), which was treated successfully with local wound care in all cases and did not require reoperation to achieve wound closure. There were no known thromboembolic events.

Conclusions: Not all massive weight loss patients are suitable candidates for comprehensive circumferential body contouring procedures, and many patients desire a limited anterior approach to the frontal abdomen. The modified vertical abdominoplasty should be considered as an option in these patients.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / surgery*
  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cohort Studies
  • Dermatologic Surgical Procedures
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gastric Bypass / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / diagnosis
  • Obesity, Morbid / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / physiopathology
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*
  • Wound Healing / physiology