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For Immediate Release: October 28, 2003

ASPS Study Proves Body Contouring One Year After Bariatric Surgery Safe - Significantly Reduces Complications

Data Gives Bariatric Patients Opportunity to Live Life to Fullest

SAN DIEGO - With the growing popularity of gastric bypass surgery to treat morbid obesity, body contouring after massive weight loss has become a focus of the plastic surgery community. Previously, many plastic surgeons would not perform body contouring due to the high complication rate; however, in a study presented today at the Plastic Surgery 2003, plastic surgeons can confidently perform a contouring procedure to remove excess skin and fat below the abdomen (panniculectomy) with significantly less complications than previously thought by waiting one year after bariatric surgery.

"When a patient loses large amounts of weight, the skin does not retain its shape, leaving the patient with a large hanging apron of excess skin and fat below the stomach area, otherwise known as a pannus," said Ernest Manders, MD, ASPS member. "By focusing on patients who undergo a panniculectomy to remove the pannus, we found significantly fewer complications in patients who had the procedure one year after bariatric surgery rather than during the initial surgery."

Waiting one year and allowing an interval for weight loss after the surgery, has a number of benefits over the simultaneous procedure. There were significantly fewer complications for patients who waited one year, including fewer wound infections and less wound reopening. Of the 123 patients studied, there was no respiratory disease or deaths among patients who waited after bariatric surgery. In addition, 20 percent of patients who had a panniculectomy during bariatric surgery had the surgery repeated later due to additional weight loss.

Patients who waited fared much better than those who did not because their bodies were healthier going into the panniculectomy, according to Dr. Manders. Many of the patients studied had lost about 100 pounds, gotten their diabetes under control, reduced their hypertension and lowered the stress on their hearts, making the surgery much safer and decreasing the risk of complications. 

BODY CONTOURING AFTER BARIATRIC SURGERY SAFE

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"Before bariatric surgery and body contouring, many of my patients were not even able to work. They often did not have good self images and didn't participate in life as most of us do," said Dr. Manders. "After a panniculectomy, I've seen many patients ready to be employed again, go shopping and even take care of grandchildren. This surgery isn't just beauty surgery - it rehabilitates people so they can have a full life. And now, patients can confidently undergo this treatment knowing that it is safe as well as effective."

Plastic Surgery 2003 is the annual scientific meeting of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation (PSEF) and the American Society of Maxillofacial Surgeons (ASMS).

ASPS, founded in 1931, is the largest plastic surgery organization in the world and the foremost authority on cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery. ASPS represents physicians certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) or The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. For referrals to ABPS-certified plastic surgeons in your area and to learn more about cosmetic and reconstructive plastic surgery, call the ASPS at (888) 4-PLASTIC (888-475-2784) or visit www.plasticsurgery.org

Note: Dr. Manders will discuss his study Monday, October 27 9 a.m., in the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego. Reporters can register to attend Plastic Surgery 2003 by logging on to www.plasticsurgery.org/news_room/Annual-Meeting-Media-Information.cfm or by contacting ASPS Public Relations at (847) 228-9900 or in San Diego, October 25-29 at (619) 525-6241.

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