Plastic surgeons must keep up-to-date with relevant medical developments to ensurer patients are well-informed of all the risks involved with various procedures. Cosmetic and plastic surgery always come with its pros and cons. It can be life-threatening at times, but in a vast majority of cases, patients fair well through the recovery process. However, patients have the right to know what they are getting themselves into before any procedure should take place.
A study recently published by Dr. Tae Chong of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas found that men run a higher risk of suffering from complications after having bariatic surgery and body contouring.
Bariatic surgery, which involves different procedures causing the reduction of the stomach size, is performed on patients with obesity problems. After this surgery, the patients have to deal with excess skin and fats by undergoing body contouring. Plastic surgeons perform this procedure to reshape the underlying tissues after the sudden weight loss experienced by the patients.
Upper body lifts treating the areas of the chest, back and arms are the typical procedure needed by men after getting bariatic surgery. For women, it is the lower body lifts which tone the areas of the thighs, buttocks and upper arms.
In an attempt to compare the rate of complications between both sexes, the authors have taken samples from a huge database of patients undergoing body contouring.
In general, the complication rate reaches as high as 42%. The most common complications appearing on male patients were the accumulation of wound fluid, known as seroma and the accumulation of blood under the skin or hematoma. Seroma formation occurred 25% on males and only 13% on females, while hematoma formation occurred 14.6% on males and 3.5% on females.
Ten of 481 patients in the database were male. However, when computed based on all relevant factors, the percentage scoring reveal that men were almost three times at risk of seroma formation and almost four times at risk of hematoma formation compared to women. This result reflected that the rate for overall complications is higher in men.
Other types of complications did not reveal any relevant difference between men and women. These include other would-related complications and infections.
While the cause of the disparity between the sexes remains unknown, authors have identified possible factors. For example, men usually have higher blood pressure and require the removal of more tissues than women. This hypothesis is yet to be proven by further research.
Due to a limited number of studies and small number of men undergoing body contouring, there are some speculations that say men run a higher risk of contracting wound-related complications. Although the authors claim that male patients are still considered a minority when it comes to body contouring procedures, there is an increasing number coming in for abdominoplasty starting 2000. This is expected to bring in more materials for research which is very important in understanding this medical phenomenon and ensuring the safety of patients.
So for Dr. Chong and his coauthors, they advise plastic surgeons to be aware of these developments to help them in their practice. More importantly, they suggest that patients should be informed of the possible complications of the surgeries especially of the high-risk situation for male patients to acquire seromas and hematomas.