Can I Get a Tummy Tuck Without Post-Op Drains?
Are you hesitant to have tummy tuck surgery because you’re worried about the aftermath of needing to have a drain? There may be an alternative for you!
Why Drains are Used in Tummy Tuck Surgery
Let’s start with the basics. Why do we even use drains for surgery? Here’s what you need to know: a drain is used in surgery whenever you create a cavity in the body. This happens on tummy tucks, face-lifts, buttocks augmentation, you name it. Whenever there’s a cavity, there’s a possibility that blood products (also called plasma) can fill up this space. This is what leads to the dreaded seroma, a fluid collection that can harbor bacteria and result in an infection. This is what we want to prevent the use of drains. A tummy tuck traditionally requires a drain or two to expedite sealing of the cavity and so that fluid cannot accumulate.
So what’s the big deal? It sounds like a drain is really important! Despite the benefits, drains are disliked by patients because they’re a nuisance to deal with, but more importantly because they’re painful.
Why Are Tummy Tuck Drains Painful?
A reasonable question to ask is- why is it painful? Won’t the pain medications help? So, when we do a tummy tuck, we work on the abdomen; the drains, however, are put in the pubic region. Because the ports come out of a region that hasn’t been undermined by surgery, the nerves are still intact and the patient can still feel pain in the area. In contrast, the rest of the belly skin has been undermined, and the pain nerves have been cut. This is why you get dissociated pain—the differential in pain sensation between the belly and pubic area where the drain lines come through leads to a higher pain sensation by the patient with drains.
What’s the Latest Alternative to Drains?
A new glue called TissuGlu is 10x stronger than other glues that have been on the market. This new product allows us to spray the abdomen cavity created, and while closing the belly down, we can now glue the cavity shut. This way, patients can avoid getting a seroma, and patients undergoing tummy tucks can avoid drains. A final advantage is avoiding drain port site incision lines. Doesn’t that sound awesome?