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Complications Studied in Abdominoplasty

Plastic surgeons urged to tell patients that the complication risk may be as high as one in four

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Abdominoplasty is associated with high rates of early and late complications and the need for revision surgery, according to study findings published in the November issue of the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery.

Ken Stewart, M.D., of Murrayfield Hospital in Edinburgh, Scotland, and colleagues reviewed outcomes in 278 abdominoplasty patients over a five-year period.

The researchers identified early complications in 18 percent of patients, the most common of which were seroma (5 percent), hematoma (3 percent), infection (3 percent), skin or fat necrosis (2.5 percent) and delayed healing (2 percent). They also identified late complications in 25 percent of patients, including "dog ears" (12 percent), localized fatty excess (10 percent) and unsatisfactory scars (8 percent). They found that 24 percent of patients required revision surgery, most often additional liposuction (12 percent), dog ear revision (10 percent) and scar revision (5 percent).

"The revision rate is significant; however, secondary liposuction could arguably be classified as a second aesthetic procedure in a proportion of patients," the authors conclude. "Patients must be forewarned that, although aesthetically acceptable results are probable, they have as much as a one in four chance of a complication, albeit minor, in the postoperative period and a similar chance of further surgery performed to achieve a result which meets all their requirements."

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