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The Key to Long-Term Success in Liposuction: A Guide for Plastic Surgeons and Patients

Rohrich, Rod J. M.D.; Broughton, George II M.D., Ph.D.*; Horton, Bauer B.S., J.D., C.P.A.; Lipschitz, Avron M.D.; Kenkel, Jeffrey M. M.D.; Brown, Spencer A. Ph.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: December 2004 - Volume 114 - Issue 7 - p 1945-1952
doi: 10.1097/01.PRS.0000143002.01231.3D

Patients need to have realistic expectations for a long-term successful body contour result. There are four key elements for long-term successful improvement in body contour, and the patient is responsible for the first three: exercise, a proper diet, and other positive lifestyle changes; and successful body contouring. An extensive survey requesting information about the procedures, areas of liposuction, lifestyle habits, and satisfaction was mailed to 600 patients who had liposuction surgery performed between 1999 and 2003. One hundred and eight surveys were undeliverable and 209 completed surveys were returned (34.8 percent of 600 mailed surveys and 42.5 percent of 492 delivered surveys). Data were analyzed by a binary logistic regression with backward elimination. Weight gain (versus no weight gain) was used as the dependent variable. The results showed that regardless of whether the patient did or did not gain weight, both groups reported being very satisfied (30 percent and 48 percent, respectively) or satisfied (43 percent and 34 percent, respectively) with their procedure. Among the weight gain patients, 72 percent would still have the procedure again, compared with 82 percent of responders who did not gain weight. When asked if they would recommend the procedure to family or friends, 90 percent of responders who did not gain weight would recommend the procedure whereas only 74 percent of responders who did gain weight would recommend the procedure (p < 0.001). Among those patients who gained weight, only 29 percent thought their appearance was excellent or good (compared with 79 percent of those who did not gain weight). Among the 57 percent of patients who did not gain weight, 35 percent report exercising more postoperatively (compared with only 10 percent in the weight gain group, p = 0.002) and 50 percent report eating a healthier diet (22 percent in the weight gain group report eating a healthier diet, p = 0.002). In the weight gain group, 67 percent report no change in their diet regimen and only 17 percent thought their productivity increased (compared with 25 percent among the no weight gain group, p = 0.002). Successful body contouring surgery requires a patient to embrace positive lifestyle habits. The results of this survey have been used to create a quantitative decision-making framework or a “road map” for patients and plastic surgeons to use for navigating toward successful long-term results.

Dallas, Texas

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, Nancy L. & Perry Bass Advanced Wound Healing Laboratory, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Received for publication December 18, 2003; revised April 28, 2004.

* The opinions or assertions contained herein are the private views of the author and are not to be construed as official or as reflecting the views of the Department of the Army or the Department of Defense.

Rod J. Rohrich, M.D., Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, HX1.636, Dallas, Texas 75390-8820,

©2004American Society of Plastic Surgeons