Drain Free Tummy Tuck or Drainless Abdominoplasty
When a tummy tuck is performed, an incision is made across the lower abdomen. And the skin and the fat is elevated off the muscles, often all the way up to your ribs. Once the extra skin and fat is removed, we then take the upper edge of the skin and fat that remains, and suture it down in the pubic area. So essentially what we’re doing is we’re lifting your skin and fat off the muscle. Pulling it down and then laying it back down on the muscle.
This creates a potential space into which fluid can be secreted. And if fluid accumulates there, it’s called a seroma. And essentially your belly will start to distend. It’ll actually feel like a water bed.
There’s two ways that we can deal with this. Number one is, we could put in drains, which are little plastic tubes that come out through the pubic area and drain the fluid into little plastic drains. Or we can suture the skin and the fat down to the muscle using what’s called progressive tension sutures.
This avoids the use of drains which sometimes can be irritating and occasionally can cause an infection. Which option we use is usually determined at the time of your consultation. Probably the biggest factor is how thin you are. The thinner the individual, the more risk there is.
That if you suture internally, you might actually create a dimple in the skin on the outside that could be permanent. So for thin patients in general, we use drains. And for patients whose skin and fat are a little bit thicker, if you fall into that category, we would use the progressive tension sutures. And avoid the use of drains.