Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Eating Soon after a Tummy Tuck Could Get Patients Out of Hospital Faster

New York, NY (June 28, 2007) – The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) announced today that withholding oral intake of food in patients after abdominoplasty (“tummy tuck”) may not be necessary, and that feeding patients earlier could allow for quicker discharge after surgery. Findings from a study investigating the impact of early feeding after abdominoplasty on the occurrence of postoperative nausea and vomiting is published in the May/June 2007 issue of the Aesthetic Surgery Journal , the Society's official peer-reviewed journal.
These findings are important because abdominoplasty is a popular cosmetic surgical procedure. According to the Aesthetic Society's statistics abdominoplasty was the fourth most popular surgical procedure in 2006, with 172,457 procedures performed, an increase of 407% from 1997.
Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is among the most disagreeable experiences associated with surgery, causing dehydration and retching, which can lead to poor wound healing, among other adverse effects. While postoperative management of patients undergoing abdominoplasty has traditionally involved withholding food until patients demonstrate evidence of bowel activity, this practice requires patients to remain in the hospital for the administration of intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. However, no literature exists to support this practice.
“This study demonstrates that early feeding of tummy tuck patients may prevent the need for postoperative hospital admission for intravenous hydration—at least in those patients who can maintain adequate hydration with oral intake alone—and allow for faster hospital discharge,” said Alan Matarasso, MD, a board-certified plastic surgeon in New York, NY, lead author of the study. “While there may be other reasons for admission, routine postoperative admission to prevent dehydration may not be necessary. These findings could change the way we care for our postoperative abdominoplasty patients, improving their comfort and safety, and saving on health care costs.”
The study consisted of a retrospective review of the medical records of 22 patients who underwent abdominoplasty, divided into two groups. Group I followed traditional guidelines for oral intake; members of Group II were allowed to consume a regular diet immediately after surgery. All other aspects of postoperative care remained the same. There was no statistical difference in PONV between the two groups.
Although the findings are promising, physicians remain cautiously optimistic about a full transition to ambulatory abdominoplasty.
“Although a number of abdominoplasties are performed as outpatients, for those patients in whom it is deemed necessary, for safety reasons, to undergo the procedure in a hospital this paper demonstrates that early feeding of patients undergoing abdominoplasty is possible. It does not diminish some of the benefits of postoperative hospital admission,” adds Foad Nahai, MD, Atlanta plastic surgeon, President of ASAPS and Associate Editor of ASJ . “Achievement of adequate pain control, maintenance of a semi-flexed position, and patient and surgeon preference are important variables to consider when choosing between admission and discharge.”