Surgical complications following body contouring among patients wishing to get back into shape can be avoided if malnutrition is identified in advance, says the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
The society conveys through an article in its official journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery that identifying malnutrition beforehand can also accelerate wound healing, improve scar quality, and boost patient energy levels.
Its report says that 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.
"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," says Dr. Dennis Hurwitz, ASPS Member Surgeon.
"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," adds the co-author.
The society's report is based on a study performed in two parts.
Firstly, medical literature regarding nutrition's effect on healing from the 1940s to the present was reviewed.
Finally, the authors 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 researchers also took into consideration the role of each nutrient in wound healing and immune response.
Complications and wound problems were found to occur in 66 percent of the 75 patients who did not receive supplementation before 2006, they said.
Major complication rates were reduced to 19 percent amongst the 37 patients on the nutritional supplement regimen after 2006, they added.
The team particularly observed that improving nutritional deficiencies in massive weight loss patients improved the healing process, wound tension, scar quality, and patients' energy levels.
They noted that protein, vitamins A, B complex, C, arginine, glutamine, iron, zinc and selenium promote wound healing, collagen production and immune response.
According to them, vitamin B complex has also been associated with reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis.