Background: As bariatric surgery becomes ever more popular, so does body-contouring surgery to eliminate excess skin after radical weight loss. To date, the literature has described a number of risk factors affecting the postoperative outcome. Our study aimed to define those factors more closely, focusing on abdominoplasty ("tummy tuck") patients who suffered intra- and postoperative complications.
Methods: The study collective included 205 patients over 5 years (2001-2006) who underwent dermolipectomy at our department. The mean follow-up was 5.94 years. Every abdominoplasty was performed under general anesthesia with intraoperative one-dose antibiotic. The analysis included a complete review of all medical records. Statistical analysis was performed with the R-2.5.0 Software for Windows.
Results: The overall rate for major complications that required operative revision and/or antibiotics was 10.2 %, including 2.9 % cases of infections. Forty-one percent had minor complications, such as seromas, hematomas, wound healing problems, and wound dehiscences. The logistic regression models demonstrated that smoking combined with the age, a BMI higher than 30 kg/m(2), and the amount of removed tissue (measured in g) lead to significantly more wound healing problems in nearly all age groups. The probability of infections correlated with later drain removal.
Conclusions: Regardless of the amount of tissue removed, no main risk factor for complications could be identified. A complication-free course and good outcome can be best achieved with careful patient selection and preoperative planning.