Plastic surgeons warn of malnutrition in body contouring patients

Nov 13, 2008

Identifying malnutrition before surgery in massive weight loss patients seeking body contouring will significantly decrease surgical complications, accelerate wound healing, improve scar quality and boost patient energy levels, according to a study in the December issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the official medical journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS). Optimizing nutrition with the addition of supplements, such as powder drinks and multi-vitamin tablets formulated for massive weight loss patients, is vital to successful body contouring surgery, the study reveals.

"Body contouring procedures for massive weight loss patients are major operations with large incisions in many areas that demand a lot of the body during the healing process," said ASPS Member Surgeon and study co-author Dennis Hurwitz, MD. "By carefully monitoring nutritional deficiencies preoperatively and supplementing the patient with the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins, I have seen a significant decrease in complications and improved postoperative healing. In my practice, I won't do body contouring procedures on this patient population without a preoperative regimen of nutritional supplements."

The study was performed in two parts; First, medical literature regarding nutrition's effect on healing from the 1940s to the present was reviewed. The authors then compared healing and wound problems in 75 of their massive weight loss body contouring patients from 2001 to 2005 who did not receive supplementation, with 37 patients from 2006 to present, who participated in a uniquely designed nutritional supplement program prior to surgery. The study also noted the role of each nutrient in wound healing and immune response.

The study found that complications and wound problems occurred in 66 percent of the 75 patients who did not receive supplementation before 2006. In the 37 patients on the nutritional supplement regimen after 2006, major complication rates were reduced to 19 percent. The study found specifically that improving nutritional deficiencies in massive weight loss patients improved the healing process, wound tension, and scar quality, in addition to increasing patients' energy levels.

Because of reduced calorie intake for massive weight loss patients, they are highly susceptible to malnutrition, the study observed. At one year after bariatric surgery, most patients' food intake remains at about 1,000 calories per day, not even close to meeting standard recommendations regarding calories and protein intake. The study also noted the role various nutrients play in wound healing: Protein, vitamins A, B complex, C, arginine, glutamine, iron, zinc and selenium promote wound healing, collagen production and immune response; Vitamin B complex has also been associated with reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

According to the ASPS, nearly 67,000 body contouring procedures after massive weight loss were performed in 2007.

Source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Explore further: Majority of primary care physicians find that medical imaging improves patient care

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Davos elites warned about catastrophic cyberattacks

4 hours ago

Attacks on power plants, telecommunications and financial systems, even turning all of Los Angeles' traffic lights green: Davos elites were warned Saturday of the terrifying possibilities of modern cyber ...

Recommended for you

Medical radiation may be reduced to one-sixth

1 hour ago

One of this century's most significant mathematical discoveries may reduce the number of measuring points to one-sixth of the present level. This means reduced exposure to radiation and faster medical imaging ...

The 'fifth taste,' umami, could be beneficial for health

14 hours ago

The umami taste could have an important and beneficial role in health, according to research published in the open access journal Flavour. The journal's special series of articles 'The Science of Taste' also finds that ' ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.