The No Drain Tummy Tuck
By Dr. E. Ronald Finger M.D., FACS.
Abdominoplasties are most commonly called Tummy Tucks. Abdominoplasties have become one of the most common procedures that I perform. Yes, they are usually accompanied with liposuction of the sides, hip roles, back and even inner and out thighs, and even breast augmentation – the combination of breast and abdomen restoration commonly called Mommy Makeover.
However, this discussion is solely about the Tummy Tuck, and because of its prolonged recovery time and high complication rate, drains are usually left in place for five to seven or more days.
Steps must be taken during the surgery procedure to allow one to eliminate the drains safely. The patient must be off any anti-coagulants for generally three weeks prior to the surgery. This includes aspirin, omega-3, flax seed supplements, Advil, Motrin, Advil, Vitamin E, herbs, and anything that contains vitamin E, such as diet or nutritional drinks.
Why the No Drain Tummy Tuck is an Effective Technique
A special suturing technique used in the No Drain Tummy Tuck surgery, (progressive tension sutures) is also critical to eliminating the drains. When the flap of skin and subcutaneous fat is elevated from the abdominal wall muscles, a “dead space” has been created.
Generally, this space is left open allowing the skin and its underlying fat to slide around on the underlying muscles. This is bad. The technique to eliminate the drains is to suture the elevated skin and subcutaneous fat to the underlying fascia of the muscles, so it cannot slide around and shear and this also closes the “Dead Space,” the Progressive Tension Sutures.
Reduce Recovery Time with the No Drain Tummy Tuck
The incidence of seromas (an accumulation of fluid) varies from 10% to 25% with other techniques using drains.
My incidence of seromas for the last four years is zero, which doesn’t mean one can’t occur, but it still is a very good indication of the effectiveness of the technique. In addition, patient mobilization is faster, and the recovery time has been much shorter with less swelling, and there is much post-operative pain.
I attended a presentation by the originators of the technique, Dr. Pollock and his son, their incidence of seromas in 900 patients was zero. Seromas are a complication that can be devastating to the patient with prolonged recovery times sometimes requiring further surgery.
Reducing this risk while also reducing the discomfort of drains has been a significant improvement in Tummy Tuck surgery. In non-physician terms, the No Drain Tummy Tuck has several benefits, but the biggest one is a lower infection rate and faster healing time.