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Scarpa Fascia Preservation during Abdominoplasty: Randomized Clinical Study of Efficacy and Safety

Costa-Ferreira, António M.D.; Rebelo, Marco M.D.; Silva, Alvaro M.D.; Vásconez, Luis O. M.D.; Amarante, Jose M.D., Ph.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: March 2013 - Volume 131 - Issue 3 - p 644–651
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e31827c704b
Cosmetic: Original Articles

Background: Scarpa fascia preservation has been suggested as a way of reducing complications associated with conventional abdominoplasty. A prospective randomized study was conducted to evaluate the effect on results and complications of preserving the Scarpa fascia during a full abdominoplasty.

Methods: This was a single-center study conducted from August of 2009 to February of 2011. Patients were assigned randomly to one of two procedures: classic full abdominoplasty (group A) or a similar type of abdominoplasty except for the preservation of the Scarpa fascia and the deep fat compartment in the infraumbilical area (group B). Four surgeons were involved in the study. Several variables were determined: general characteristics, time to suction drain removal, total volume of drain output, length of hospital stay, systemic complications, local complications, and aesthetic result.

Results: A total of 160 full abdominoplasties were performed in women (group A, 80 patients; group B, 80 patients) equally divided by the four involved surgeons. There were no statistically significant differences between groups with respect to general characteristics, complications (except for the seroma rate), and aesthetic result. The Scarpa fascia preservation group had a highly significant reduction of 65.5 percent on the total drain output, 3 days on the time to drain removal, and 86.7 percent on the seroma rate.

Conclusion: Preservation of the Scarpa fascia during an abdominoplasty had a beneficial effect on patient recovery, as it reduced the total drain output, time to drain removal, and seroma rate without compromising the aesthetic result.


Porto, Portugal; and Birmingham, Ala.

From the Department of Plastic Surgery, São João Hospital, Porto Medical School, and the Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Received for publication July 19, 2012; accepted September 26, 2012.

Disclosure: The authors have no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this article. No external funding was received.

António Costa-Ferreira, M.D.; Rua do Ouro 108 hab 3.3, 4150-552 Porto, Portugal,

©2013American Society of Plastic Surgeons