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Impact on Abdominal Skin Perfusion following Abdominoplasty.

Wound healing problems following abdominoplasty may be a result of impaired tissue perfusion. This study evaluated the impact a standard abdominoplasty may have on abdominal skin perfusion.

Methods: A standard abdominoplasty was performed in 16 patients. Dynamic infrared thermography (DIRT) using a mild and a stronger cold challenge was performed pre-, intra-, and postoperatively on day 1, 2, and in week 6. The abdomen was divided into Huger's vascular zones. A two-tailed t test was used to evaluate differences in mean temperature between zones. Statistical significance was defined as P < 0.05.

Results: Two patients suffered wound healing problems. Abdominal skin perfusion showed a hyperaemic state on day 1, day 2, and week 6, postoperatively. Hotspots in zones I and II had all disappeared at the end of surgery and on day 1, except in the cranial part of zone I. Hotspots reappeared in zones I and II during day 2. A statistically significant difference between zones I and II was seen on day 1 and 2, with zone II being cooler. This difference had disappeared in week 6 for the mild cold challenge but not for the stronger cold challenge.

Conclusions: A standard abdominoplasty has a significant impact on abdominal skin perfusion. The skin perfusion is a dynamic process with a gradual improvement over time. The strongest effect was seen in zone II near the lower transverse incision line, where skin perfusion was the least. Such may contribute to impaired wound healing at this site.

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