Despite all of its eventual glory, plastic surgery is inherently characterized by bodily trauma. It’s not until after the tummy tuck, breast augmentation, or liposuction has been completed that the real battle begins: the recovery period. In addition to bruising and swelling, many patients find themselves in a mess of annoying tubes that drain blood and other excess fluids from the wound. Drainage tubes have long been considered necessary in plastic surgery, but a breakthrough product is about to make the recovery period after plastic surgery a whole lot easier and eliminate the need for tubes altogether.
When it’s time for a plastic surgeon to close a wound, they must first attach the disturbed layers of tissue back to the underside of the skin. Then, the greater wound can be stapled and sutured to oblivion. But it’s that first step of re-attaching tissue to the skin that actually creates the need for drainage tubes. If there’s space between the tissue and skin as the wound heals, fluid builds up.“Fluid build-up is enemy number one because, when the tissues get separated by fluids, you don’t know how it will react,” said Dirk F. Richter, a plastic surgeon at Dreifaltigkeits Hospital, in Wesseling, Germany.
While the drainage tubes are necessary for removing the fluid, they are also notoriously linked with complications: between 15 and 52% of plastic surgery patients with drainage tubes deal with some sort of problem, like infection or the need to replace the tubes.
Drainage tubes have been a necessary evil throughout plastic surgery’s history. Fluid buildup is to be expected, particularly after very invasive surgery. The impending shift away from drainage tubes comes in lieu of a way to thoroughly and completely seal off that space between tissue and skin.
Introducing TissuGlu Surgical Adhesive, a material designed to replace the need for drainage tubes. TissuGlu is made of a biocompatible material that not only disintegrates safely into the body, but reaches peak performance in moist conditions. TissuGlu’s lysine-derived urethane polymer adhesive is also five times stronger than any other surgical adhesives currently available.
“It’s what we’ve been waiting for,” said Dr. Richter. “Surgery, which is always a trauma, produces swelling. And the swelling produces fluid in the tissue vacuum. Fluids are the best environment for germs to produce infection.”
TissuGlu Surgical Adhesive was developed by a chemical engineer and maxillofacial surgeon duo, who saw a gap in the market of surgical adhesives. Along with the help of investors, they developed TissuGlu Surgical Adhesive. The product took several years to complete and underwent rigorous clinical testing before being introduced to the European market in 2011. Patients and plastic surgeons alike have been impressed with TissuGlu, which is planned to hit the U.S. in 2014.
“The faster an adhesive can seal the wound – so that tissues can’t be pulled apart – is what controls the accumulation of fluid,” said Richter. In surgeries where Dr. Richter used TissuGlu, the “fluid accumulation was dramatically reduced.”
TissuGlu isn’t available in the U.S. yet, but a well qualified plastic surgeon will make the recovery period as hassle-free as possible. Contact our representatives today to learn more about post-operative treatment or to schedule a consultation with a board-certified plastic surgeon in your area.