Does lipoplasty really add morbidity to abdominoplasty? Revisiting the controversy with a series of 406 cases

Aesthet Surg J. 2005 Jul-Aug;25(4):353-8. doi: 10.1016/j.asj.2005.05.003.


Background: The popularity of plastic surgery "makeover" television programs has increased interest among the public and the medical community in both the positive and negative aspects of combined surgery procedures. In particular, the safety of combining abdominoplasty with lipoplasty became a matter of concern following multiple deaths in Florida and the consequent moratorium on simultaneous abdominoplasty and lipoplasty enacted by the Florida Board of Medicine.

Objective: The goal of this study was to evaluate the morbidity of abdominoplasty combined with suction-assisted lipoplasty (SAL) compared to the morbidity of abdominoplasty alone.

Methods: A retrospective review of 406 consecutive abdominoplasty procedures performed by the senior author (W.G.S.) at a single outpatient surgery center was conducted. Cases were sorted into 2 groups: those that had abdominoplasty only and those that had abdominoplasty with SAL. The SAL group was further subdivided into 4 groups based on the volumes of aspirate removed. The primary groups and subgroups were compared with regard to morbidity. In addition, the location of SAL, age, body mass index (BMI) and surgery time of each patient were evaluated as contributing factors to morbidity.

Results: No statistically significant differences in complication rates were found when comparing abdominoplasty with SAL to abdominoplasty alone. Additionally, the amount and location of lipoplasty, age, BMI and surgery times did not significantly affect patient morbidity. The prevalence of morbidity in all groups compared favorably to parameters established in previous studies of abdominoplasty and SAL.

Conclusions: This extensive retrospective study provides further evidence that combining abdominoplasty with SAL does not increase patient morbidity compared to abdominoplasty alone.