Modified aesthetic abdominoplasty approach in perforator free-flap breast reconstruction: Impact of drain free donor site on patient outcomes

Anita T. Mohan, Charalambos K. Rammos, Prakriti Gaba, John Schupbach, Whitney J. Goede, Karla Ballman, Niles Batdorf, Angela Cheng, Michel Saint-Cyr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Background The use of progressive tension sutures alone has been shown to be comparable to using abdominal drains in aesthetic abdominoplasty. This study reviews outcomes with the use of barbed progressive tension suture technique without drains in DIEP donor site closure compared to standard closure with drains. Methods A two year retrospective review was conducted of DIEP flap reconstructions in the enhanced recovery program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester (USA). Donor site closure was divided into barbed progressive tension sutures (B-PTS) without drains, and standard abdominal closure with drains(S-AD). Demographics, perioperative data and donor site complications were documented. Results 93 patients were included in the study, 42 in the B-PTS no drain group and 51 in the S-AD with drains. 81% of all procedures were bilateral and 39% were immediate. Patients were discharged faster to the ward postoperatively and total hospital admission was reduced in the B-PTS group, 3.7 (SD = 1.4) days versus 4.7 (SD = 2.1) days in the standard group (P = 0 < 0.001 and 0.004 respectively). Less morphine was required postoperative day (POD) 1, 2 and 3 (P = 0.04, 0.03, 0.02 respectively), and time to mobilize was quicker but not statistically significant (P = 0.09) in the B-PTS group. Overall there were 18 patients in the S-AD group who had complications versus 9 in the B-PTS group (P = 0.14). The incidence of complications occurring within 30 days were lower in the B-PTS group (P = 0.05). The overall seroma rate was 5.4% and rates in the B-PTS group was 2.4% versus 7.8% in the S-AD group, P = 0.37. Conclusions Use of barbed progressive tension sutures for abdominal closure after DIEP flap harvest can obviate the need for abdominal drains, reduce postoperative pain and encourage early discharge from the hospital without an increased risk in complications. Level of evidence III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-809
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • Abdominal free tissue transfer
  • Abdominoplasty
  • Autologous breast reconstruction
  • DIEP
  • Deep inferior epigastric artery perforator flap
  • Donor site complications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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