It’s a fact: in the quest to improve the midline, sometimes liposuction just isn’t enough. Excess skin and tissue and stretch marks can sometimes only be improved with a good old-fashioned nip and tuck. But in an interesting twist, researchers have recently found that adding liposuction to a tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) prevents a common post-operative complication and also improves patient comfort.
For patients undergoing a tummy tuck, a technique that includes liposuction can help to avoid post surgical problems with seroma, according to a study in the October issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). A seroma is a pocket of clear fluid that can develop in the body after surgery. Dr. Carl W. Lentz III and colleagues believe their liposuction technique not only may help to control the risk of seromas without the need to place a drain after the tummy tuck, but may also improve abdomen and waist contours.
Seromas usually develop 2 to 4 week after the tummy tuck procedure. Surgeons place a drain for about a week to help to avoid fluid build up that leads to seroma. But the drain can cause discomfort and an increased risk of infection. What’s more, a drain doesn’t necessarily prevent seroma.
Dr. Lentz and his colleagues used their liposuction technique in 113 tummy tuck patients over a period of 6 years. They used an longer incision, which allowed them to gently liposuction fat from under the skin and avoid damaging the blood vessels. The incision was closed with progressive tension sutures to minimize space where fluid could collect.
Out of 113 patients, only 10 (9%) developed seromas after abdominoplasty. While 6 patients had small seromas that were resolved with simple treatment in the surgeon's office, 4 patients with larger seromas needed a drain.
The study authors concluded that their liposuction technique that their results are better than those reported in other studies, with fewer incidences of seroma and little need for drains.
Originally Published Oct 6, 2011