Background: Preservation of the Scarpa fascia has been suggested as a way of lowering complications associated with conventional abdominoplasty. Objective evidence regarding this strategy is lacking. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the effect of preserving the Scarpa fascia in the infraumbilical area during a full abdominoplasty.
Methods: A prospective study was performed at a single center from November of 2005 to November of 2007 of the patients submitted to abdominoplasty with umbilical transposition. Two groups were identified: group A, classic full abdominoplasty; and group B, full abdominoplasty with preservation of infraumbilical Scarpa fascia. Several variables were determined: age, body mass index, previous surgical procedures, comorbid conditions, specimen weight, time to suction drain removal, total volume of drain output, and length of hospital stay.
Results: A total of 208 full abdominoplasties were performed (group A, 143 patients; group B, 65 patients). There was no statistically significant difference between groups with respect to body mass index, previous abdominal operations, comorbid medical conditions, or weight of the surgical specimen (p > 0.05). The group with preservation of the Scarpa fascia had an average reduction of the total amount of drain output of more than 50 percent (p < 0001). This group also had an average reduction of 2.0 days until the time to drain removal (p < 0.001) and 1.9 days of the hospital stay (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: Preservation of the Scarpa fascia during abdominoplasty has a beneficial effect on patient recovery, as it reduces the total drain output, time to drain removal, and length of hospital stay.