A recent study published in the April issue of Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, reports significant improvements in self-esteem and quality of life in patients who had cosmetic liposuction and/or abdominoplasty (tummy tuck). The lead author of the study, Dr. Eric Swanson, a plastic surgeon in Leawood, Kansas, examined the quality of life in 360 patients who had undergone liposuction and/or abdominoplasty to remove excess abdominal fat. Even though liposuction and abdominoplasty are among the most frequently performed cosmetic surgery procedures, few studies have formally evaluated their impact on quality of life and other patient-reported outcome. This is the first study of its kind looking at the quality of life outcome in patients who have had cosmetic surgery procedures. It shows that a significant number of patients, greater than 85% of patients, report an overall improvement in quality of life and sense of self esteem.
Of the 360 patients in the study, 60 percent of patients had liposuction alone, 35 percent had combination of liposuction and abdominoplasty, and 5 percent with abdominoplasty alone. The majority of the patients were women with average age of 42 years old (85% women) and thirty percent of patients had other cosmetic plastic surgery procedures (such as facelift or breast augmentation) at the same time with the fat removal procedure.
Of the 360 patients in this study, patients with liposuction alone had shorter recovery times: average time off work was about 6 days compared to 16 days of for patients who had an abdominoplasty. The liposuction-only patients also had less discomfort: average pain score 6 out of 10, compared to 7.5 for those undergoing abdominoplasty.
In terms of patient satisfaction, patients undergoing abdominoplasty rated their cosmetic outcomes higher than others: average score 9 out of 10, compared to 8 out of 10 with lipsuction only. Liposuction plus abdominoplasty produced the highest patient satisfaction with over 99 percent of satisfaction with no increase in pain compared with abdominoplasty alone. Ninety eight percent of patients undergoing liposuction plus abdominoplasty said they would undergo the procedure again and would also recommend to their family and friends.
In terms of quality of life and overall self esteem, 86% of patients reported an improved sense of self-esteem and reported improved quality of life.