Abdominoplasty is one of the highest risk plastic surgery procedures for venous thromboembolism complications (VTE). Current recommendations for VTE prophylaxis are sequential compression devices (SCDs) in the OR and optional use of subcutaneous heparin after surgery. Subcutaneous heparin has been shown to be safe in other surgical groups. However, the large raw surface areas and dissection involved in abdominoplasty has been a relative contraindication for preoperative chemoprophylaxis. However, the period while the patient is under general anesthesia and immediately following the procedure is likely the highest risk time period for VTEs. The purpose of this study is to determine if preoperative chemoprophylaxis is safe in these patients.
All patients undergoing abdominoplasty by the senior author from January 1, 2005 to January 1, 2012 were retrospectively reviewed. All patients whose operation took place between January 1, 2005 and January 18, 2008 were given SCDs before the induction of anesthesia and heparin (unfractionated) 5000 units SQ on call to the OR. All patients whose operation took place between January 19, 2008 and January 1, 2012 received enoxaparin (low molecular weight heparin) 40 mg SQ on call to the OR and then daily for 2 days postoperatively. These groups were evaluated in regards to overall complication rate, incidence of VTE, and bleeding complications.
A total of 151 patients underwent abdominoplasty during the study period. One hundred one patients received the SCD/heparin protocol and 50 had the enoxaparin protocol. The groups were similar in regard to pre-morbid conditions and risk factors for VTE. There were no VTEs diagnosed in either group. The overall incidence of any complication was similar between the 2 groups (19% vs. 14%, P = 0.503) and similar to other published series. The most common complications were seroma, cellulitis, and minor wound dehiscence. The incidence of bleeding complications was similar between the 2 groups (1% vs. 0%, P = 1.0).
The use of preoperative chemoprophylaxis in patients undergoing abdominoplasty can be done without an increase in bleeding complications or overall complication rate. Furthermore, enoxaparin can also be used preoperatively and continued for 2 more days during the period of time of maximum immobility with easy administration for outpatients via use of a prescription home use kit.