Background: An increasing number of patients need reconstructive surgery after massive weight loss. The hypothesis was that surgical experience together with standardised management guidelines significantly decreases early complication rates after abdominoplasty for massive weight loss. The primary aim was to assess the 30-day complication rate after abdominoplasty following increased surgical training and experience. The secondary aim was to assess whether optimised management guidelines have an impact on the complication rate and patient safety.
Methods: The outcome of 69 consecutive abdominoplasties operated by surgeons in 2011 (Group A) and 70 consecutive patients operated by plastic surgeons in 2010-2012 (Group B) was compared. Another Group of 70 consecutive patients operated by surgeons in 2013-2014 (Group C) was assessed since standardised guidelines for pre- and post-operative treatments and refinement of surgical technique had been introduced. The same surgeons participated in operations of Groups A and C. χ 2-test and Fisher's exact test were applied to dichotomous data. Logistic regression test and ANOVA were used.
Results: Group C had more comorbidities and was significantly older. 48 patients in Group A (70%), 31 in Group B (44%) and 13 patients in Group C (19%) had early complications. A significantly decreased rate of complications occurred with improved guidelines and surgical training and experience. (A vs. C p < 0.001 and A vs. B p = 0.008).
Conclusions: Our results indicate that the rate of early complications after abdominoplasty for massive weight loss can be significantly reduced with improved surgical experience and standardised management guidelines. Registered at Clinical Trial.gov (ID: NCT02679391).