The Drainless Tummy Tuck: Dr. Patronella Uses This Technique to Eliminate Drains During Recovery
By Houston Plastic Surgeon Dr. Chris Patronella
Named One of “America’s Best Plastic Surgeons” in Newsweek
For more than 20 years, I’ve been incorporating a technique called progressive tensions sutures, which has effectively eliminated the need for my patients to wear drains following plastic surgery body contouring procedures. Traditionally, plastic surgeons have used drains to remove fluid that might accumulate under the skin during the recovery period following flap procedures. But with the drainless approach, progressive tension sutures are placed to close off the space underneath the tissues so that fluid won’t accumulate. Therefore, drains become unnecessary.
Benefits of the No-Drain Tummy Tuck Approach
As you can imagine, drains can be very uncomfortable, and they often are left in place for 5, 10, even 20 days. So the drainless method has been a welcome benefit my patients appreciate during recovery from tummy tuck, body lift, thigh lift, and arm lift procedures.
How Safe Is the Drainless Tummy Tuck Method?
The drainless method is very reliable. I published an article documenting this in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal, Initially, I used it for tummy tuck surgery. Gradually, I adapted the technique so that it can be used on all kinds of body contouring procedures that I do routinely, including body lifts, arm lifts (brachioplasty), buttock lifts, back lifts, and thigh lifts. These are common plastic surgery procedures I perform on patients who’ve experienced large weight loss and even patients who haven’t lost a lot of weight, but they have loose skin.
The positive feedback of my patients has been greatly rewarding as has been the response I received following publication of my article(s) describing successful use of progressive tension sutures to both eliminate the need for drains and create high-definition anatomical contours in the abdomen during tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery.
I’ve been invited to discuss the technique at a variety of plastic surgery meetings around the globe. This spring, I’ll be presenting it at the American Society for Plastic Surgeons meeting. And in the fall, I’ll be speaking on this topic at the Japanese aesthetic meeting in Tokyo, Japan. I look forward to sharing the expertise I’ve gained and answering questions from other plastic surgeons who are interested in learning how to eliminate drains for body contouring surgery.