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Aesthet Surg J. 2016 Feb;36(2):204-10. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjv122. Epub 2015 Jul 3.

The Impact of Protein Nutritional Supplementation for Massive Weight Loss Patients Undergoing Abdominoplasty.

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Dr Austin is a Resident, Dr Lista is an Assistant Professor, and Dr Ahmad is a Lecturer, Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr Lista is Breast Section Co-editor and Dr Ahmad is My Way Section Editor for Aesthetic Surgery Journal. Mr Khan is a Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.



As more patients undergo bariatric surgery to assist with weight loss, the demand for post-bariatric body contouring surgery, to address both functional and aesthetic concerns, is increasing. However, high wound healing complication rates remain a significant problem for these patients. One theory is that chronic malnourishment and hypoproteinemia may contribute significantly to these wound healing complications.


The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of pretreatment protein nutritional supplementation on wound healing in post-bariatric surgery massive weight loss patients undergoing abdominoplasty. Our hypothesis was that protein supplementation would decrease wound healing complications.


A retrospective review was performed of 23 post-bariatric surgery patients undergoing abdominoplasty who received pretreatment protein nutritional supplementation. This group was compared with a historical control group of 23 post-bariatric surgery patients who underwent abdominoplasty in the period immediately before the implementation of the protein supplementation protocol. Patient demographics and procedural characteristics were similar for the two groups.


Forty-six patients were identified who had undergone abdominoplasty, half of whom were prescribed the protein supplementation protocol. Overall wound healing complication rates were significantly lower in the protein-supplemented group (0.0% vs. 21.8%, p = 0.04). There was no significant difference between the protein supplementation and historical control groups in regards to total complication rate.


Pretreatment protein supplementation is a simple intervention that can significantly decrease wound healing complications in post-bariatric surgery massive weight loss patients undergoing abdominoplasty. LEVEL OF EVIDENCE 4: Therapeutic.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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