Safely combining abdominoplasty with aggressive abdominal liposuction based on perforator vessels: technique and a review of 300 consecutive cases

Plast Reconstr Surg. 2015 May;135(5):1357-1366. doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000001200.


Background: There continues to be controversy about performing abdominoplasty concurrently with abdominal liposuction. The concern is that liposuction on the already vascularly compromised abdominal flap will lead to increased complications and flap necrosis. The central abdomen is supplied by the epigastric system. If perforator vessels from this system are spared, the blood supply to the abdomen can be spared and liposuction should be able to be safely performed on the elevated abdominal flap. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the safety of abdominoplasty with concurrent abdominal liposuction when a perforator vessel is spared.

Methods: A standard abdominoplasty was performed, sparing one or two perforator vessels from the deep superior epigastric artery system. A retrospective chart review of 300 consecutive patients who underwent abdominoplasty surgery combined with concurrent abdominal liposuction was performed. Complications, total volume of abdominal liposuction, and results were reviewed.

Results: The overall complication rate was 17.3 percent (52 patients). Sixteen percent (48 patients) suffered minor complications and 1.3 percent (four patients) suffered major complications.

Conclusions: Abdominoplasty can be combined safely with concurrent abdominal liposuction when a perforator vessel is spared. The combination of concurrent liposuction with abdominoplasty showed no increase in complication rates when a perforator vessel was spared. The perforator vessels are located consistently in a 2-cm radius located 4 cm from the midline and 6 cm from the subcostal margin. The potential advantages of abdominoplasty with concurrent liposuction include a better postoperative cosmetic result.

Clinical question/level of evidence: Therapeutic, IV.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Wall / blood supply
  • Abdominal Wall / surgery*
  • Abdominoplasty / methods*
  • Epigastric Arteries*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Lipectomy / methods*
  • Perforator Flap / blood supply*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome