The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) announced today that ambulatory abdominoplasty ("tummy tuck") may be safely and effectively performed at an accredited outpatient surgery facility.
Findings from a retrospective analysis of outpatient abdominoplasty procedures performed over the past ten years are published in the May/June 2007 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal (ASJ), the Society's official peer-reviewed journal. According to ASAPS data, abdominoplasty is one of the top five cosmetic surgical procedures performed in the United States, with approximately 172,500 tummy tucks performed in 2006, compared with just 34,000 in 1997.
"Even though these procedures are commonly performed on an outpatient basis, we had few large, published studies to support outpatient abdominoplasty as a safe and effective operation," said W. Grant Stevens, MD, lead author of the study. "This large, long-term study clearly illustrates that these procedures may be safely performed in an accredited outpatient facility."
The study consisted of a retrospective review of 519 consecutive abdominoplasty procedures performed over 10 years at a single outpatient surgery facility certified by the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities. All procedures were performed by one of two senior surgeons, and all patients received general anesthesia administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist. The outpatient complication rates in this outpatient study, including seroma (10.6%) and unacceptable abdominal or umbilical scars (7.9%), compared favorably with previously published complication rates for inpatient procedures. The authors cautioned, however, that although outpatient abdominoplasty is safe and effective, proper follow- up care is imperative, and patients need to have responsible caretakers stay with them after surgery.
"Patients must ambulate the day of surgery and take in adequate oral fluids, and all patients need a caregiver to prompt them and help them to do this," added Dr. Stevens. "Embolism precautions must be taken, and patients with a higher risk for medical complications may still need to be treated as inpatients."
All ASAPS members perform surgeries that require general anesthesia only in an accredited, state-licensed or Medicare-certified facility. Updated guidelines for office-based surgical procedures were published by the Society in 2004.
"Ensuring patient safety is key to our mission," said Foad Nahai, MD, Atlanta plastic surgeon, President of ASAPS and Associate Editor of ASJ. "Based on this and other published data, we believe that when performed in an accredited facility and following our guidelines, ambulatory abdominoplasty can be a safe, convenient and cost-effective option for properly selected patients."