The other day I was reading a question from a potential plastic surgery patient inquiring about what the “Quilting” technique used in Tummy Tuck procedures. In my Denver plastic surgery practice, I have been utilizing the “Quilting” technique underneath the flaps of all of my lifting procedures, including the Mommy Makeover, Tummy Tuck and Body Lift procedures, for several years.
Quilting is the process of literally taking down any tissue flaps that have been raised with sutures. There are two main benefits from using the Quilting technique:
- First, the quilting technique closes down the open tissue plane (we will sometimes call this “dead space” or a potential space). The major benefit here is in preventing the formation of a pocket of fluid beneath the flap.
- Secondly, the quilting technique spreads the tension out over the entire flap and many of the sutures. Sharing the tension and re-supporting forces via multiple sutures lessens the tension placed at the incision closure line. This improves the overall contour and decreases the threat of the incision site reopening following surgery.
Some surgeons have eliminated drains when using “progressive tension” or multiple quilting sutures with tummy tuck surgery, however, I typically still place drains. Perhaps I could stop using drains, but the length of time drains are needed and the rate of seeing fluid collections under my flaps (these are called “seromas”) has dramatically decreased. I haven’t seen a seroma in a tummy tuck patient in at least three years!