The use of the advanced progressive tension suture (PTS) approach has made tummy tucks an even better option for qualified patients who are unhappy with their appearance. Dr. Edelstein leverages his extensive knowledge of traditional abdominoplasty with experience in cutting-edge surgical techniques to make the procedure safer and easier to recover from than ever before with the no drain method.
PROBLEMS WITH TRADITIONAL ABDOMINOPLASTY
PTS has helped resolve one of the lingering problems associated with recovery: the use of surgical drains. After the traditional form of abdominoplasty is complete, patients are typically fitted with small, thin tubes that pass through the skin. For about one to two weeks following surgery, these tubes are used to drain any of the excess fluid that accumulates in the potential space between the skin / fat and the muscle left behind by the surgery and ensures a safe, speedy recovery. Without drains, the fluid that naturally collects in the wound can stop the underlying fat and muscle tissues from coming together and properly healing.
The use of drains can lead to certain problems, though. Patients often report irritation and discomfort with the drain itself, annoyance regarding limitations on movement, and the need to empty the drains two to three times per day. Drains also carry the risk of creating infections, making unnecessary scars, and can also technically malfunction.
WHAT IS A DRAINLESS TUMMY TUCK?
A drainless tummy tuck, or drain-free abdominoplasty, avoids these problems by using the progressive tension suture technique. The first part of surgery remains the same: creating a horizontal abdominal incision, strengthening the weakened or separated internal muscles, removing excess skin, liposuction and repositioning the remaining tissue. Then, PTS bypasses what would usually be the next step: placing drainage tubes. At this point in the procedure, we instead administer a series of carefully placed stitches that close the cavity usually left open and tended with drains. These tissues are then able to heal without any significant amount of fluid accumulation interfering with the process.
While using PTS to create a drainless tummy tuck may take the surgeon slightly longer to perform, the benefits of the approach are well worth it. Not having drains in place makes the recovery process more comfortable, cost effective, and less painful. There is also a greatly lessened risk of infection, additional scarring, and healing complications. When PTS is used, the tummy tuck heals more quickly and recovery isn’t as difficult for the patient. Progressive tension sutures: a technique to reduce local complications in abdominoplasty, a study published in the Plastic Reconstructive Surgery medical journal has firmly established that the PTS approach offers ” a very effective and satisfactory procedure” that decreases complications and speeds recovery.
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR A DRAINLESS TUMMY TUCK?
The decision to take either a traditional or drainless approach to the abdominoplasty is made by your Plastic Surgeon during the consultation process. Not everyone is a candidate for it. For example, thinner patients may benefit more from the use of drains than others. When PTS is used, thinner patients are at a higher risk for developing permanently dimpled skin due to the stitching technique inherent to the no drain approach. Consequently, it is necessary for every patient to be carefully assessed during their consultation. We will always ensure that you receive the safest and most convenient form of abdominoplasty by performing a careful examination and planning a surgical approach based on your unique physiology. Whether this entails a drainless or traditional tummy tuck depends on factors inherent to your body.
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