Traditional abdominoplasty procedures have always involved the placement of drains to prevent abnormal fluid collection beneath the recently moved skin to prevent fluid collection. These are flexible tubes placed during surgery which attach to small suction bulbs, continuously pulling out fluid for the first few days or occasionally weeks after surgery. The drains are left in place until the fluid output decreases, and then are removed during an office visit.
What’s wrong with drains?
While having drains in place after an abdominoplasty is generally not painful, many patients find them to be a real nuisance. They must be emptied 2-3 times a day, can be difficult to conceal under clothing, the site where the drain exits the incision or drain requires care, they sometimes clog, and they may inhibit showering or bathing. If they are removed too early, fluid may accumulate beneath the incision which will require drainage.
The No Drain abdominoplasty
When performing a no-drain abdominoplasty, additional sutures are placed between the abdominal wall and the overlying fat and skin, closing off the space where fluid would otherwise accumulate. In addition to making drains unnecessary, the sutures are used to relieve some of the tension on the final skin closure, potentially helping to keep this scar from widening. The procedure takes a little longer to do, but the convenience and comfort for the patient after the operation certainly makes it worthwhile.
We can’t perform a no-drain abdominoplasty on every patient, but find that it is possible for most. Be sure to ask us during your consultation if we can do it for you.