International Cosmetic Surgery Patients Report Higher Seroma and Antibiotic Use


International cosmetic surgery was associated with higher rates of antibiotic use and seroma formation, according to results from a new analysis.

Researchers for the retrospective cross-sectional study examined complications in patients who traveled either abroad or within the United States for cosmetic surgeries and later sought treatment at the authors’ center. The study aimed to compare complication rates between those who underwent cosmetic surgery internationally and domestically. The study included cases from June 2014 to June 2022, focusing particularly on patients presenting with complications from cosmetic surgeries performed out of state or abroad. Binary logistic regression analysis was used to assess differences in outcomes.

The analysis included 123 patients [mostly female (97.6%)], with a mean age of 34.0 ± 8.7 years (range 16-62 years). A total of 159 emergency department consultations were reported. Abdominoplasty (n=72) and liposuction (n=56) were the most commonly reported procedures. Reported complications included wound dehiscence (n=39), infection (n=38), and seroma (n=34). More than half of the patients required intervention, and 23.6% (n=29) required hospital admission.

Multivariate regression analyses showed that seroma incidence (P=0.025) and the need for oral (P=0.036) and intravenous antibiotic prescriptions (P=0.045) were significantly higher among the international cohort compared to the domestic cohort. No significant differences in other complication variables, including infections, operative interventions, or hospital admissions, were reported.

"Compared to domestic tourism cases, international tourism cases were associated with significantly higher rates of seroma formation and antibiotic use," the authors concluded. "There were no significant differences otherwise in overall complications including infections, operative interventions, or hospital admissions."

Source: Chin M, et al. Aesthetic Surgery Journal. 2024; sjae112. doi: 10.1093/asj/sjae112

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