Operating on the Edge? Body Contouring Procedures in Patients with Body Mass Index Greater 35



Body contouring surgery after massive weight loss was shown to ameliorate the patient’s quality of life and to enhance physical and psychological well-being. However, numerous patients are still obese when presenting for body contouring surgery, not able to lose additional weight for various reasons. Data regarding general feasibility, outcome, and postoperative complications in obese patients is rare. The aim of this study was to investigate the outcome in body contouring procedures in obese patients.


A retrospective chart review of 65 cases in 42 patients was performed. Patients with a body mass index (BMI) > 35 kg/m2 at the time of operation were enrolled and all different types of body contouring surgery were included. Complications were classified as major (need for surgical intervention) and minor complications.


The median BMI of all patients was 38 kg/m2 (range 35.1–65.1 kg/m2). The majority of performed types of body contouring was abdominal body contouring (panniculectomy n = 27 (42%), abdominoplasty n = 12 (18%)). Complications occurred in 27 cases (41.5%). Twenty-one cases (32.3%) were classified as minor complications, six (9.2%) as major complications. The most common major complications were hematoma and wound dehiscence; the most common minor complication was seroma.


A reasonable risk for complications is well known in body contouring surgery especially in obese patients. It is imperative to discuss related risks and expected results. Taking several points into account concerning the perioperative management, reduction of major complications is possible even in still obese patients, making body contouring surgery a discussible option.

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Correspondence to Theresa Hauck.

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Hauck, T., Schmitz, M., Horch, R.E. et al. Operating on the Edge? Body Contouring Procedures in Patients with Body Mass Index Greater 35. OBES SURG 29, 1563–1570 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11695-018-03697-0

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  • Body contouring surgery
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Obesity
  • Complications