Great Question about Quilting.
In my Denver plastic surgery practice, I have been "Quilting" under all of my "Flaps" for Mommy Makeover, Tummy Tuck and Body Lift procedures for several years.
Quilting is the process of tacking down any tissue flaps that have been raised with sutures. There are two main benefits from this:
- Closing 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.
- Spreading the tension out over the entire flap and many sutures. Sharing the tension and resupporting forces via multiple sutures lessens the tension placed at the incision closure line.
Some surgeons have eliminated drains when using "progressive tension" or multiple quilting sutures, 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!
Hope this helps,
Nick Slenkovich MD, FACS
Web reference: http://www.coloradoplasticsurgery.com/tucks-lifts.aspx