The Surgeon Minute

TissuGlu Instead of Tummy Tuck Drains?

TissuGlu Instead of Tummy Tuck Drains?

If a stitch in time saves nine, just think what surgical glue could do! Dr. Ashley Gordon of Austin describes how TissuGlu may be providing a new experience for tummy tuck patients, potentially ridding many of the feared post-operative drains.

TissuGlu Could be Key in Many Tummy Tuck Procedures

The number one complaint many patients have when having an abdominoplasty or “tummy tuck” is the post-operative drain(s) necessary with this operation. There are a few modern work-arounds surgeons are entertaining, one of them being TissuGlu. With the product, drains are made a thing of the past.

“TissuGlu is one of the most innovative, exciting products that we’ve had in the past year,” explains Dr. Gordon. “And it’s allowed us to have drain-free abdominoplasty.”

Drains have been a necessary component of tummy tuck procedures, providing the finishing touches to the procedure after the sutures are in and the patient out of the OR. Their purpose is to quite literally drain the abdominal area of fluid so no problems arise. Some surgeons seek to avoid drains by “quilting” the abdominal tissue down as they go, suturing the region and forcing the area to not require a drain. Another aspect of this technique is to do the same, but with TissuGlu.

The way in which the body heals following any of the above procedures is a topic for surgeons, but the mental relief provided to patients who no longer deal with drains can be profound. “As you probably know, drains really generate the most anxiety when patients are considering a tummy tuck,” explains Gordon. “They’re worried about whether the drains are going to be uncomfortable, is it going to be hard to maintain it, is it going to be undue stress on the caregiver in terms of emptying it, etc.”

Ashley Gordon tummy tuck before and after.

We’ve asked patients after an abdominoplasty what was the worst part of it and 100 percent of the time they say, ‘I hated the drains.’ – Dr. Ashley Gordon

Just Exactly What IS TissuGlu?

It’s technical term is lysine-based urethane tissue adhesive that forms a strong bond between tissue layers, allowing the body to reabsorb fluid naturally as part of the healing process.

TissuGlu helps in:

  • Wound healing
  • Elimination of post-operative drains in many surgeries
  • Getting back to daily activities sooner

“It’s a very, very strong product,” explains Gordon. “Each droplet that we place can resist 10 pounds of shear force which is really incredible. Patients actually feel tighter after the surgery and we can see that after the first week.”

Tissue glue.

As Promising As It Is, TissuGlu Is Not For Every Abdominoplasty Patient

As always, there are some patients that are not good candidates for the drain-free tummy tuck which utilizes TissuGlu, including:

  • Patients who are more prone to producing excess fluid are not good candidates for an abdominoplasty with no drain
  • Massive weight-loss patients
  • Patients whose BMI is over 28
  • Patients who also are having a significant amount of liposuction done with the tummy tuck. “Liposuction fluid will eventually make its way to the front if we’ve doing a lot of liposuction toward the posterior trunk,” Dr. Gordon says. “And those patients will still require drains.”

One Less Hurdle to Jump for a Life-Changing Procedure

“I always knew the patients hated the drains and I thought my nurses knew that too because they’re the ones always taking them out, but just last week one of them said ‘I can’t believe the response we’ve had for the TissuGlu’,” says Dr. Gordon. “We had one patient last week who said, ‘I’ve been thinking about this for three years and the reason I had been so hesitant to have a tummy tuck is because of I’m so scared of the drains.'”

TissuGlu stands as yet another promising technology to improve not only surgical practices but patient experiences. After all, the latter is an incredibly important aspect for expert plastic surgeons; providing the best results for patients absolutely includes not only the physical results, but the mental boost that many plastic surgery procedures are capable of providing.

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