According to a recent study published in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), patients who elect to have liposuction following an abdominoplasty procedure (tummy tuck) may have a reduced risk of postoperative problems.
This new technique which was pioneered by ASPS Surgeon Carl W. Lentz II, MD of Florida State University and colleagues appears to reduce the chance of patients developing seroma, a common postoperative complication. Seromas are pockets of clear fluid that may develop within a few weeks of surgery and often require repeated doctor visits in order to effectively drain all of the fluid.
To reduce the occurrence of seromas, surgeons typically elect to place a drain in the affected area after surgery, which remains with the patient for at least a week following their procedure. Often patients experience significant discomfort and their risk of infection increases as a result of the drain, without completely eliminating the risk of seroma.
Dr. Lentz’s method involves creating an extended incision in patients, which allows surgeons to perform a gentle liposuction underneath the skin. Once complete, the incision is closed using progressive tension sutures, which reduces the amount of “dead space” underneath where fluid retention can build up.
This technique was utilized in 113 abdominoplasty patients over a six-year period. Only 10 patients (8.8 percent) developed seromas following surgery and most of the seromas were small and only required noninvasive treatment methods. Four patients did develop larger seromas that required a drain placement.
The results of their six-year long study have made Dr. Lentz and colleagues optimistic that this new method will be an effective tool in reducing the risk of complication following an abdominoplasty, while also potentially improving the abdominal wall and overall waist contour of patients.
Learn more about liposuction and tummy tucks in the Portland area.