The Impact of Protein Nutritional Supplementation for Massive Weight Loss Patients Undergoing Abdominoplasty

Aesthet Surg J. 2016 Feb;36(2):204-10. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjv122. Epub 2015 Jul 3.


Background: As more patients undergo bariatric surgery to assist with weight loss, the demand for post-bariatric body contouring surgery, to address both functional and aesthetic concerns, is increasing. However, high wound healing complication rates remain a significant problem for these patients. One theory is that chronic malnourishment and hypoproteinemia may contribute significantly to these wound healing complications.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of pretreatment protein nutritional supplementation on wound healing in post-bariatric surgery massive weight loss patients undergoing abdominoplasty. Our hypothesis was that protein supplementation would decrease wound healing complications.

Methods: A retrospective review was performed of 23 post-bariatric surgery patients undergoing abdominoplasty who received pretreatment protein nutritional supplementation. This group was compared with a historical control group of 23 post-bariatric surgery patients who underwent abdominoplasty in the period immediately before the implementation of the protein supplementation protocol. Patient demographics and procedural characteristics were similar for the two groups.

Results: Forty-six patients were identified who had undergone abdominoplasty, half of whom were prescribed the protein supplementation protocol. Overall wound healing complication rates were significantly lower in the protein-supplemented group (0.0% vs. 21.8%, p = 0.04). There was no significant difference between the protein supplementation and historical control groups in regards to total complication rate.

Conclusions: Pretreatment protein supplementation is a simple intervention that can significantly decrease wound healing complications in post-bariatric surgery massive weight loss patients undergoing abdominoplasty. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE 4: Therapeutic.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominoplasty* / adverse effects
  • Adult
  • Bariatric Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Chronic Disease
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoproteinemia / diagnosis
  • Hypoproteinemia / diet therapy*
  • Hypoproteinemia / etiology
  • Male
  • Malnutrition / diagnosis
  • Malnutrition / diet therapy*
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutritional Status
  • Obesity / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss*
  • Wound Healing


  • Dietary Proteins