The Importance of Protein Supplementation for MWL patients undergoing body contouring
In a recent study published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, a simple regimen of protein supplementation was found to reduce the incidence of post-operative wound healing issues. I decided to summarize parts of the paper here in this month’s blog because it has the potential to enhance the recovery for all of our massive weight loss patients who are undergoing body contouring procedures.
This study was published by a group working out of Mississauga, lead by Dr. Jamil Ahmad and Dr. Frank Lista. They recognized that for massive weight loss patients there are more wound healing issues following body contouring surgery in comparison to other body contouring patients. It’s well known that post-bariatric patients experience higher rates of protein calorie insufficiency and the authors hypothesized that protein supplementation would help to reduce the number of post-operative wound healing complications.
Two groups of 23 massive weight loss (MWL) patients undergoing abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) were selected. The two groups were similar with regards to age, gender, BMI and other characteristics. Patients in the treatment group were asked to supplement their diet with 80 grams of whey-isolate protein powder for 4 weeks before surgery and 4 weeks after surgery. This was the only difference between the two groups.
The treatment group had a significantly lower rate of wound healing issues (0% vs 21.7%).
Protein calorie insufficiency is common amongst post-bariatric patients. In addition, protein requirements are increased during the healing phase following body contouring surgery. It’s not unexpected then that the authors were able to demonstrate improved healing and recovery in the group who received protein supplementation.
“Based on this article, I would encourage all of my MWL patients to incorporate some protein supplementation in to their pre- and post-surgery diets.”
Austin, Ryan et al. The Impact of Protein Nutritional Supplementation for Massive Weight Loss Patients undergoing Abdominoplasty. Aesthetic Surgery Journal; 2015, 1-7.