New research shows that tummy tucks performed via progressive tension sutures (PTS) can safely eliminate the need for surgical drains, and speed recovery. The findings are published in the August issue of Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

Researchers reviewed chart on 597 consecutive abdominoplasty patients treated over 12 years. All procedures were performed via PTS. No drains were placed.

Of the 597 abdominoplasties, 52.4 percent were performed in the hospital and 47.6 percent in an American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgery Facilities-accredited facility. In 63.7 percent of cases, abdominoplasty was combined with another procedure(s). Study patients were mostly women with an average age of around 46. 

The rate of local complications was 4.2 percent, and all but one of these complications (seroma) were minor. There were no systemic complications related to PTS and no venous thromboembolisms, the study showed.

The PTS technique was pioneered by study authors Todd A. Pollock, MD, and his father Harlan Pollock, MD, of Texas Institute for Surgery in Dallas.

"Our technique sews the tissue back together, closing the space, and leaving no room for fluid to accumulate,” says Todd A Pollock in a press release. “More importantly, PTS hold tissue together with abdominal movement during the healing process. The need for drains is eliminated, which speeds recovery, decreases cost and improves scarring." Specifically, "a woman can move around upright without fear of disrupting the surgical area. She doesn’t have to resort to extended bed rest and limited movement, as many surgeons advise to avoid these problems."