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Plastic Surgery International
Volume 2013, Article ID 515737, 12 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/515737
Review Article

Assessing Improvement in Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction following Body Contouring Surgery in Patients with Massive Weight Loss: A Critical Review of Outcome Measures Employed

St. Andrews Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns, Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, Essex CM1 7ET, UK

Received 14 April 2013; Accepted 4 June 2013

Academic Editor: Marcus Lehnhardt

Copyright © 2013 Shehab Jabir. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Body contouring following massive weight loss is a rapidly expanding field in plastic surgery. However, healthcare payers are reluctant to fund such procedures, viewing them as purely cosmetic. This has resulted in a flurry of studies assessing quality of life (QoL) and patient satisfaction following body contouring surgery in this cohort of patients to establish an evidence base to support the idea that body contouring is as much (or even more) a functional procedure as it is cosmetic. However, the methods employed in these studies are seldom ideal, and hence the conclusions are unreliable. The gold standard to assess QoL and patient satisfaction is to use patient specific psychometrically validated patient reported outcome (PRO) measures. Developing such measures consists of a three-step process which includes a review of the current literature, qualitative patient interviews to determine what patients consider the most important, and expert opinion. This study aims to appraise the currently available literature on assessment of QoL and patient satisfaction in body contouring surgery patients. This will hopefully provide an understanding of methodological weaknesses in current studies and inform future investigators of the design of ideal instruments for assessing QoL and patient satisfaction in body contouring patients.