There is an interesting article in the current edition of the Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery Journal (December 2011). The focus of the article is a small subset of renal patients who need kidney transplants but whose abdominal panniculus excludes them due. A significant panniculus creates an infrapannicular area prone to increased moisture, skin maceration, and elevated bacterial counts, predisposing the patient to postoperative wound infections, necrosis, and dehiscence. Not good for anyone, but really not for someone on immunosuppression.
The article discusses the use of abdominal panniculectomy in these patients in preparation for the transplant. Nine patients , 3 men and 6 women, with a mean age of 54.5 years and a mean BMI 28.3 are the focus of the article. The focus is not a cosmetic abdominoplasty but a functional panniculectomy, most often of just the lower abdominal excess skin and not addressing the area above the umbilicus.
It must be remembered that this is a high-risk group by definition: ESRD, requiring a kidney transplant. Mean length of hospital stay of 1.75 days. No one required blood transfusions. All patients were followed postoperatively for 3 months. Complications included an abscess and a skin dehiscence treated with local wound care.
Panniculectomy in Preparation for Renal Transplantation: A New Indication for an Old Procedure to Reduce Renal Transplantation–Associated Wound Complications; Kuo, Jennifer H.; Troppmann, Christoph; Perez, Richard V.; Wong, Michael S.; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery. 128(6):1236-1240, December 2011; doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e318230c7b8Abstract