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J Plast Reconstr Aesthet Surg. 2009 Oct;62(10):1250-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bjps.2008.03.043. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Complications in abdominoplasty: a risk factor analysis.

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Department of Plastic and Hand Surgery, University of Freiburg Medical Center, Hugstetter Strasse 55, 79106 Freiburg, Germany.



Abdominoplasty is one of the most popular body-contouring procedures. However, it is associated with a significant number of complications, the most common being seroma and wound-healing problems. In this study, we analysed postoperative complications following abdominoplasty and evaluated the presence of statistically significant correlations between pre-existing risk factors and postoperative complications.


We carried out a retrospective chart review of all patients who underwent abdominoplasty from June 1994 to April 2004 at our institution. Patient demographics, risk factors (smoking, previous abdominal surgery, obesity, and male gender) and complications (minor and major) were noted from the patient's medical record.


In all, 139 patients were included in the study (126 female and 13 male), with a mean age of 42.8 years at the time of surgery. Minor and major complications were seen in 40 (28.8%) and 16 patients (11.5%), respectively. Smoking and previous abdominal surgery were not associated with a significantly increased complication rate. However, patients without previous surgery displayed a significantly increased complication rate (43.2% vs. 22.1% for minor and 25% vs. 5.3% for major complications; p<0.05). Obesity (BMI >30 kg/m(2)) was associated with a significant increase in major complications (20.8% vs. 9.7%; p<0.05). Male gender was predisposed to increased minor and major complications; however, this was not statistically significant.


Despite its popularity, abdominoplasty is still associated with a significant rate of complications. In particular, obese patients and those with no previous history of abdominal surgery seem to be at risk for complications. The role of male gender needs to be evaluated further.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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