At our Denver plastic surgery practice, we always advise patients to be wary of any procedure described as “the latest innovation,” or “state of the art.” This is often no more than slick marketing designed to generate interest in a device or a procedure that may or may not provide improved results for the patient. However, occasionally advances are made that improve patient comfort and surgical outcomes, and once proven effective and safe, these innovations eventually become widely accepted and used in the surgical community.
The use of progressive tension sutures in abdominoplasty is one such case in which an already effective procedure is dramatically improved with a slight variation in technique. The incorporation of the progressive tension sutures into abdominoplasty surgery allows for a “no drain” tummy tuck, which is truly an advancement that benefits the patient.
I have been performing Denver abdominoplasty surgery with progressive tension sutures for some time now. These are internal sutures that attach the abdominal flap to underlying muscle, which serves to eliminate the “pocket” that is created during abdominoplasty. This prevents seroma formation (fluid accumulation) because there is no longer a space for fluid to accumulate. This eliminates the need for surgical drains, which have traditionally been one of the greatest sources of post-surgical discomfort for our patients undergoing tummy tucks in Denver.
Since switching exclusively to the no-drain approach to abdominoplasty, the incidence of seroma formation has remained extremely low, or no other negative side-effects associated with this technique have been encountered. The “positives” include significantly improved comfort and convenience, as patients do not have to empty and monitor these drains, which would typically protrude from the incision site and remain in place for 7 to 10 days. Mobility is achieved more rapidly, there is less tension at the incision site, and generally recovery is smoother and quicker with this method.