For patients undergoing abdominoplasty after massive weight loss from bariatric surgery, pretreatment protein nutritional supplementation significantly decreased wound healing complications.
A group of 23 patients supplemented their diets with a low-calorie, all-natural, over-the-counter, whey-isolate protein powder with no added vitamins or minerals (GNC Corporation). They used 80 g of protein daily for 4 weeks before and 4 weeks following abdominoplasty.
A control group of 23 patients also undergoing abdominoplasty post-bariatric surgery received no supplements.
There were no differences between the two groups in gender, age, BMI at time of surgery, pretreatment smoking status, pretreatment hemoglobin level or length of procedure.
Wound healing complication rates were significantly lower among the patients in the protein supplementation group.
No significant differences in complications were found for seroma, wound infection or umbilical necrosis rates.
In the historical control group, the wound healing complication rate was 21.7% vs. no wound healing complications in the protein supplementation group.
Most patients in the study underwent a restrictive bariatric procedure, rather than a malabsorptive procedure, which is typically associated with greater protein malnourishment, the researchers noted.
As a result, the researchers concluded that the results of this study may not apply to all post-bariatric surgery patients.
Pretreatment nutritional supplementation is an important adjunct to minimize posttreatment wound healing complications, according to researchers. – by Abigail Sutton
Disclosure: The researchers reported no relevant financial disclosures.