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.
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