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Study: Researchers evaluate thighplasty complications

Article-Study: Researchers evaluate thighplasty complications

The rise in popularity of bariatric surgery has sparked interest in body-contouring procedures following massive weight loss. In the process, it’s become obvious that there’s a near-total lack of objective outcome data regarding regional contouring procedures, including medial thighplasty, which is why researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, undertook a study aimed at describing outcomes and complications of medial thighplasty.

The authors assessed 106 patients (90 women, 16 men) who had undergone various types of thighplasty from 2003 to 2012. Fourteen patients underwent horizontal thighplasty, 24 had short-scar thighplasty and 68 had a full-length vertical procedure. Researchers found:

  • Patients who had horizontal thighplasty had a 43 percent complication rate
  • Short-scar patients had a 67 percent complication rate
  • Full-length vertical thighplasty patients had a 74 percent complication rate
  • Overall, 72 patients (68 percent) had at least one complication
  • Complications included dehiscence (51 percent), seroma (25 percent), infection (16 percent) and hematoma (6 percent)
  • Overall, 25 patients (23 percent) developed edema, which in two patients did not resolve by 12 months

In addition, hypertension was significantly associated with postoperative seroma, while age, hypothyroidism and liposuction outside the area of resection were associated with postoperative infections. A full-length vertical incision was associated with increased lower extremity edema.

“The key take-away message from this study is that minor wound-healing complications in thigh lifts are common,” study author Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, M.D., University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, tells Cosmetic Surgery Times. “These can be very small, yet still significant to the patient. The data from this study helps plastic surgeons in counseling patients on expected outcomes and recovery after a thigh lift.”

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

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