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What Are the Advantages of Using PTS Sutures for a Tummy Tuck Procedure?

Doctor Answers (6)

Progressive Tension Sutures are great in tummy tucks.



They do several very good things.  1)  They tighten the upper abdomen.  2)  They markedly lower the risk of a seroma.  3)  They decrease the tension in the scar.  4)  They often eliminate the need for drains.

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Stitching techniques in tummy tucks


Dear Alexandra

By PTS sutures, I presume you mean Progressive Tension Sutures (also known as quilting sutures). The principle behind using these internal stitches is twofold: firstly, they reduce the "deadspace" or cavity, limiting how much fluid can build up in the wound area; and secondly, because of the tension they spread over the whole of the abdominoplasty flap, they avoid all the strain being put on the area of the scar above the pubic hair (which is what happens in a traditional tummy tuck). This then minimises the risks for wound healing problems and scar breakdown, and in addition the PTS sutures can be used to sculpt a more attractive shape to the abdomen.

I hope this answers your question!


Marc Pacifico, MD, FRCS(Plast)
London Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Progressive Tension Sutures for Tummy Tuck


This is a technique I commonly use for my tummy tuck patients and DIEP flap breast reconstruction patients, where abdominal tissue is harvested to recreate a breast.  


It helps remove the drains more quickly by carefully placing sutures to approximate the abdominal soft tissue to the underlying muscle.   The key is placing the suture such that they do not result in skin dimpling or contour deformities.


With proper use, I have been able to remove my drains in about half the time compared to without Progressive Tension Sutures.


I hope this helps.


Dr. Gill 

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

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Sutures in Tummy Tucks


PTS sutures can mean Progressive Tension Sutures which are placed between the skin/fat layer and the deep fascia layer progressively as the excess skin/fat is pulled inferiorly and are designed to prevent space between the two layers, thus reducing the risk of fluid accumulation. Drains, when used properly, and other methods also do this. There is another similar sounding suture, the PDS suture that is frequently used in Tummy Tucks and other procedures to improve the eventual scar. These sutures dissolve very slowly and maintain their strength for many months, thus supplying strength to the wound until the body builds enough strong scar to keep that scar from spreading and looking ugly. The reasons for using both these sutures are what we are all striving to improve. If your surgeon does not use either, you might ask how he/she accomplishes the goal of each.


Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

PTS Suture Technique


I am assuming you are referring to progressive tension sutures when you asked about PTS.  This is a technique were sutures are strategically placed to eliminated the empty space (ie dead space) that requires healing after a tummy tuck.  Some surgeons advocate for this techniques while others feel it does not add that much to the procedure or the patient's postoperative experience.   It is one of the techniques available to plastic surgeons to help their patients.   Please see a board certified plastic surgeon in your area to learn more about your options.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 114 reviews

Progressive Tension Sutures and Abdominoplasty


Dear AlexandraLynn,

I assume that you mean Progressive Tension Sutures and there are a number of reasons to use them in an abdominoplasty.  First, they close up the "dead space" between the two layers in an abdominoplasty diminishing the risk of a seroma.  Two, they distribute the tension on the abdominal flap more evenly.  This means less stress on the incision closure site and hopefully a better final scar.  Third, the PTS allows the surgeon to shape the abdomen such as creating a subtle midline depression.  As far as completely replacing the need for drains, there remains a lot of controversy on this claim.  Just for the record, I do use progressive tension sutures and I still like to use drains.  Hope this helps. 

Herluf G. Lund, Jr, MD
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

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