Video: Dr. Patronella’s Drainless Tummy Tuck
Dr. Patronella doesn’t use drains for his True Form Tummy Tuck® procedure and other body contouring procedures, including lower body lifts, thigh lifts, and arm lifts (brachioplasty). In this video, he describes the “no-drain” technique he has used with great success to eliminate the need for his patients to wear bulky, uncomfortable drains following body contouring surgery.
By Dr. Christopher Patronella
The No-Drain Tummy Tuck (Drainless Tummy Tuck)
I am asked frequently by patients how I’m able to do a tummy tuck procedure and not use a drain when so many other surgeons use them. The answer is that for the past 20 years, I’ve incorporated what are called, “progressive tension sutures” in order to close the space under the skin that typically might accumulate fluid. This is normal fluid that the body might produce in response to the surgical procedure that is being performed.
The next question would be, “How reliable are these progressive tension sutures?” and “How well do they prevent fluid accumulation?” This is called “seroma” in our medical lingo. I did a study a number of years that was published in 2021 in which I looked at my last 440 cases or so, approximately 300 of which were abdominoplasty—and that’s tummy tuck surgery—to analyze whether or not fluid accumulated in any of these patients. None of these patients had drains; instead I used progressive tension sutures. Of the over 300 patients that had tummy tuck procedures, there were no instances of fluid accumulation/seromas in that group of patients.
Anatomy-Defining Progressive Tension Suture Technique
In addition to closing the space so fluid doesn’t accumulate, I use the sutures to actually improve the aesthetics, as well. And I particularly use this anatomy-defining progressive tension suture technique in tummy tuck surgery in order to accentuate the normal anatomical separations in the overall contour of the abdomen.
I use them to define the nice midline valley that you see in a toned abdomen as well as the parallel valleys toward the outer part of the abdomen. So that, after the procedure, instead of a uniformly flat abdomen that has no real depth, I create that three-dimensional character so it looks more natural, not like a tummy tuck.
I strive very hard and spend a little extra time in order to create that look. So I incorporate the progressive tension suture technique to both enhance the recovery of patients so they don’t have to have a drain, and it also enhances the aesthetics of the procedure.