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Shedding light on post-abdominoplasty seroma formation

Article-Shedding light on post-abdominoplasty seroma formation

Abdominoplasty is one of the more popular aesthetic surgical procedures. Not so popular, however, is the development of seroma, a common local complication associated with abdominoplasty.

In an effort to learn more about the formation and progression of seroma following abdominoplasty, a research team led by Fábio X. Nahas, M.D., of the division of plastic surgery at Federal University in São Paulo, Brazil, initiated a study involving 21 female patients who had undergone standard abdominoplasty.

An abdominal ultrasound was performed on each patient in five regions of the abdominal wall — epigastric, umbilical, hypogastric and right and left iliac fossa — on postoperative days 4, 11, 18, 25 and 32.

The researchers found that the incidence of seroma was 4.8% on postoperative day 4; 38.1% on day 11; 33.3% on day 18; 23.8% on day 25; and 19% on day 32. The left iliac fossa region had the highest relative volume of fluid collection on postoperative day 4, as did both the right and left iliac fossa regions on postoperative day 11. At other time points, the relative volume of fluid collection was significantly higher in the right iliac fossa region.

“The most important finding of [our] study is that now we know when seroma occurs,” Dr. Nahas tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “As plastic surgeons know now when seroma occurs, they will be able to look for it in the right moment. If there is a doubt, an ultrasound should be done at the peak of seroma formation, around the 14th postoperative day. If the clinical exam or the ultrasound shows that there is more than 20 mL [of fluid], the plastic surgeon should aspirate it to avoid the capsule formation or pseudobursa.”

The study appears in the April issue of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

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