Dr. Charles Perry explains how progressive tension sutures can be used during abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) to avoid the use of drains during a patient’s post-operative recovery period.
Sacramento, CA – For many patients who undergo tummy tuck surgery, drains are often considered one of the least favorite aspects of the recovery process. Used to collect fluid as the body heals, drains are placed under the skin during surgery and usually remain with the patient for at least a week. According to Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Charles Perry, however, advances in sutures types have helped make an alternative to drains possible.
“Using the progressive tension sutures and EXPAREL® pain control medication, we have experienced a much easier post-operative recovery process for our patients,” says Dr. Perry. “While it takes a little longer for the swelling and edema to resolve following the procedure, the patients really seem much happier.”
Progressive tension sutures are a type of stitch used to attach the skin back to the muscle layer. By closing the space, it decreases the body’s potential for fluid collection, known as seroma. In a recent blog series, the first titled “What Is A Tummy Tuck Drain? Why Is It Used?” and the second, which covers alternate options for drains following tummy tuck surgery, Dr. Perry says that the majority of patients are extremely pleased to be given the option of progressive tension sutures. “We used to insist that [drains] were necessary for healing.” he says. “However, since using the progressive tension sutures, or quilting sutures, we now offer abdominal surgery and other surgeries without drains for those who do not prefer drains and their management.”
Dr. Perry also explains that, in the case of recovering from abdominoplasty, less can mean more. Without the use of drains, there are fewer aspects for the patient to manage. For example, when a patient has drains, he or she must be instructed on care, which includes:
- Emptying the self expanding bulbs twice a day
- Cleansing the skin and drain around the opening
- Recording the drain output
- Adjusting the drains as needed for comfort
“We want the plastic surgery transformation to be comfortable and easy,” says Dr. Perry. “No one likes having to have the drain removed after surgery, and no one has liked managing the drains. I do still offer patients a drain if they’d like their swelling reduced sooner, and most refuse this option.”
It should be noted, however, that drains are not available for every type of abdominoplasty procedure, Dr. Perry says. This includes cases requiring a more extensive incision, such as an extended tummy tuck with liposuction or fat transfer; or procedures where a tummy tuck is done in conjunction with a medial thigh lift.
For patients interested in abdominoplasty, Dr. Perry encourages they make a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon who can discuss more details of the surgery. It’s also important to note that each plastic surgeon has his or her own approach to the procedure, and may or may not use progressive tension sutures.
“The surgery takes longer, and this ends up costing a bit more,” he says. “It does require some expertise to perform, and as such, is not for everyone or every surgeon.”
About Charles Perry, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Dr. Charles Perry is a graduate from the University of Puget Sound and earned his medical degree from the University of Washington. He completed his plastic surgery residency at the University of Massachusetts and is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. Dr. Perry is a member of numerous prestigious organizations, including the American Society of Plastic Surgery, the American College of Surgeons, and California Medical Association. Since 2004, Dr. Perry has also been a volunteer for the Plastic Surgery Educational Foundation. Dr. Perry is available for interview upon request.
For more information about Dr. Perry and Chrysalis Cosmetics, visit sacramentoplastics.com and facebook.com/ChrysalisCosmetics.
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Sacramento, CA 95816