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Suture technique lowers abdominoplasty complications

Dallas — An abdominoplasty technique using progressive tension sutures reduces complications and may eliminate the need for surgical drains, according to results of a large study by a father-and-son surgical team.

Todd Pollock, M.D., and his father, Harlan Pollock, M.D., both of the Texas Institute for Surgery, conducted a retrospective chart review of 597 consecutive abdominoplasty cases, PR Newswire reports. All of the patients were from the Pollocks’ practice in Dallas and Allen, Texas, and had an average age of 46. The majority of the study participants were female.

The surgeons used progressive tension sutures (PTS) in abdominoplasty procedures to reduce the incidence of seroma without using drains.

In 63.7 percent of the procedures, abdominoplasty was combined with another procedure. In 67 percent of cases, liposuction was performed on the abdominoplasty flap or an adjacent area, according to the study abstract. The average amount of fat aspirate was 953 mL. No drains were used.

The rate of local complications was 4.2 percent, and all but one of these complications were minor. No systemic complications related to PTS were reported and there were no reports of venous thromboembolisms.

“Our technique sews the tissue back together, closing the space and leaving no room for fluid to accumulate,” the surgeons reported. “More importantly, progressive tension sutures hold tissue together with abdominal movement during the healing process. The need for drains is eliminated, which speeds recovery, decreases cost and improves scarring.”

The Pollocks have been using the PTS technique since the early 1980s, PR Newswire reports. The study was published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal.

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