Safety and Utility of the Drainless Abdominoplasty in the Post–Bariatric Surgery Patient

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Abstract

Introduction

Surgical drains are used in abdominoplasty patients to combat wound closure disruption by hematoma or seroma formation. Several recent publications have described techniques that allow abdominoplasty to be performed safely without the need for surgical drains. This has not, however, been described in the case of the bariatric patient, who is often considered to be of higher postoperative complication risk. Here, we describe our experience of the drainless abdominoplasty in patients who have undergone massive weight loss (MWL) after a bariatric procedure.

Methods

A retrospective review was conducted of 172 patients who had undergone drainless abdominoplasty using the progressive tension suture technique from 2011 to 2014. Thirty-five patients who had undergone MWL after bariatric surgery were assigned to group A. One hundred thirty-seven patients who had not undergone MWL with no history of bariatric surgery were assigned to group B. Demographics, intraoperative outcomes, and postoperative outcomes were compared.

Results

Patients in group A were older (mean age, 48.7 vs 42.7 years; P = 0.003) and had a higher body mass index (26.6 vs 24.6 kg/m2, P = 0.01), a significantly larger tissue resection (2379 vs 1228 g, P = 0.0001), and a higher estimated blood loss (100 vs 120 mL, P = 0.049). There was also a significant group-to-group difference in the American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status Classification distribution, with a higher percentage of MWL patients having higher scores. Despite these differences, group A did not have a statistically higher incidence of complications. There was no statistically significant difference in the rate of seroma formation (11% vs 2%, P = 0.055), wound infection (2.9% vs 4.4%, P = 0.68), wound dehiscence (8.6% vs 8.0%, P = 0.91), meralgia paresthetica (2.8% vs 1.5%, P = 0.51), or rate of reoperation (11.4% vs 13.9%, P = 0.7) between the 2 groups.

Conclusion

Despite post–bariatric surgery patients being considered higher risk for postoperative complications, drainless abdominoplasty can be safely offered to this population by using a progressive tension suture technique.

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