Steep Drops in Weight May Raise Risks After Body-Contour Surgeries

Steep Drops in Weight May Raise Risks After Body-Contour Surgeries

Steep Drops in Weight May Raise Risks After Body-Contour Surgeries

Losing over 100 pounds prior to body-shaping procedure linked to higher complication rate in study

SOURCE: UT Southwestern Medical Center, news release, Sept. 25, 2014

SATURDAY, Oct. 4, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- While the big loss in excess pounds that follows weight-loss surgery is a boon in many ways, there may be a downside.

A new study finds that people who lost the most weight were also at highest risk for complications in subsequent body-contouring procedures.

Body-contouring surgeries involve the removal of excess sagging fat and skin.

The new study included 450 patients who underwent body-contouring procedures such as body lifts, tummy tucks, arm lifts, breast lifts, breast reduction, liposuction and "thighplasty."

A total of 124 of the patients had lost 50 pounds or more before undergoing body-contouring surgery. The study found that those who lost more than 100 pounds had a higher risk for wound complications after these operations -- regardless of whether they lost the weight through diet and exercise or through weight-loss (bariatric) surgery.

Bariatric surgery patients had the highest rate of complications, however. Among patients who had weight-loss surgery, the risk of wound complications was highest among those who had gastric bypass surgery and lowest among those who had restrictive bariatric procedures, such as the gastric sleeve or Lap-Band.

Nutrition could be one reason why bariatric surgery patients are at higher risk for wound complications, said study senior author Dr. Jeffrey Kenkel, professor and acting chairman of plastic surgery at the UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.

He explained that after bariatric surgery, many patients consume less than 1,000 calories a day, which makes it difficult for their bodies to cope with the stress of body-contouring surgery.

This means that "it is imperative that patients account for their dietary deficiencies and prepare their bodies for surgery," Kenkel said. "Nutrition plays an important role in skin healing, collagen production, and the generation of new blood vessels, all of which are important during recovery."

Doctors also need to pay close attention to patients' nutrition and ensure their vitamin and protein supplements are adequate, he added.

The findings were published in a recent issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

More information

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons has more about body contouring after major weight loss.
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