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Prospective Outcome Study of 360 Patients Treated with Liposuction, Lipoabdominoplasty, and Abdominoplasty

Swanson, Eric M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: April 2012 - Volume 129 - Issue 4 - p 965–978
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318244237f
Cosmetic: Original Articles
Press Release

Background: Patient-reported data, including effects on quality of life, have not been previously prospectively evaluated in liposuction patients, or in abdominoplasty patients treated simultaneously with liposuction. This prospective outcome study was undertaken to evaluate and compare liposuction and abdominoplasty from the patient's perspective.

Methods: From 2002 to 2007, in-person interviews were conducted with 360 patients who attended a follow-up appointment at least 1 month after surgery, from a total of 551 consecutive patients treated with ultrasonic liposuction and/or abdominoplasty (response rate, 65.3 percent). Questions were asked in six categories: patient data, indications, recovery, results, complications, and psychological effects. Responses were analyzed in three groups: liposuction alone (n = 219), combined liposuction and abdominoplasty (n = 128), and abdominoplasty alone (n = 13).

Results: For most recovery indices, liposuction patients recovered significantly more quickly than lipoabdominoplasty patients (p ≤ 0.01) and had less discomfort (pain ratings, 6.1 of 10 and 7.5 of 10, respectively; p < 0.001). The result ratings for lipoabdominoplasty (9.0 of 10) and abdominoplasty (8.7 of 10) were higher than for liposuction alone (7.8 of 10; p < 0.001). Overall, 85.8 percent of patients reported improved self-esteem and 69.6 percent reported an improved quality of life.

Conclusions: Liposuction and abdominoplasty, either alone or in combination, provide high levels of patient satisfaction (88.8 percent overall). The combined procedure is similar in discomfort level to abdominoplasty alone (both 7.5 of 10) and produces the highest level of patient satisfaction (99.2 percent), with 97.6 percent of patients saying they would undergo the operation again and 99.2 percent recommending it to others.


Leawood, Kan.

From private practice.

Received for publication September 13, 2011; accepted October 12, 2011.

Disclosure: The author has no financial interests to disclose. This study received no outside funding.

Eric Swanson, M.D.; 11413 Ash Street, Leawood, Kan. 66211,

©2012American Society of Plastic Surgeons