Lipoabdominoplasty without drains or progressive tension sutures: an analysis of 100 consecutive patients

Aesthet Surg J. 2015 May;35(4):434-40. doi: 10.1093/asj/sju049.


Background: Subcutaneous surgical drains are commonly used in abdominoplasties to prevent seromas but are not tolerated well by patients and add additional discomfort after the procedure. The lipoabdominoplasty modification may create a more favorable surgical field to reduce the need for surgical drains without increasing seroma formation.

Objectives: The goal of this review was to determine if surgical drains can be completely eliminated in lipoabdominoplasty procedures without an increased risk of seromas.

Methods: The authors conducted a retrospective chart review of 100 consecutive standard, extended, and circumferential lipoabdominoplasty patients done by a single surgeon with at least a 3-month follow-up period.

Results: Seroma was identified in 5% of patients, hematoma and abscess each in 2% of patients, and granuloma, cellulitis, and delayed wound healing each in 1% of patients.

Conclusions: The use of discontinuous undermining with liposuction, limited direct undermining in the midline, preservation of a thin layer of fibrofatty tissue on the superficial abdominal wall fascia, and targeted surgical site compression can eliminate the need for surgical drains without increasing seroma rates.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominoplasty / methods*
  • Abscess / epidemiology
  • Abscess / etiology
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hematoma / epidemiology
  • Hematoma / etiology
  • Humans
  • Lipectomy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seroma / epidemiology*
  • Seroma / etiology
  • Young Adult