Advantages of a Drainless Tummy Tuck: Is it Right for You?
Tummy tucks are gaining in popularity among men and women wanting a firm, flat abdomen. This safe and effective surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, tightens and reshapes the midsection by removing excess fat and skin, resulting in a dramatically more attractive, sculpted appearance.
The decision to have cosmetic surgery is intensely personal and not everyone shares the same goals, but for anyone who wants to benefit from a tummy tuck and is concerned about the pain and prolonged recovery associated with traditional abdominoplasty, a new drainless tummy tuck may be the answer.
What is a traditional tummy tuck?
A tummy tuck is a procedure that corrects loose abdominal skin and restores weakened or separated abdominal muscles (known as a rectus diastasis), creating a firmer, flatter look. Since each body is unique, the surgery can be customized to address specific concerns.
During the procedure, an incision is made across the lower part of the abdomen, just above the pubic mound, while a second, smaller incision releases the navel from the surrounding tissue. Skin and fat are then separated from the abdominal wall so the surgeon can see the muscles responsible for strength and tone. These muscles are repaired by pulling them close together and anchoring them into a new position, making the entire abdominal wall firmer.
The skin is then stretched over the muscles and any excess is removed. A new opening is created for the umbilicus which is stitched firmly in place. When the procedure is complete, drainage tubes are placed through the skin to allow fluid that may accumulate in the abdomen to drain. This helps to prevent unwanted swelling under the newly tightened skin.
How is a drainless tummy tuck different?
A drainless tummy tuck uses a novel suturing technique that eliminates the need for drains.
After a traditional tummy tuck, gravity can force fluid to flow, uninterrupted, to the lower part of the abdomen where without drains, it would simply accumulate. The improved drainless procedure uses rows of stitching under the skin, similar to quilting, to limit large fluid pockets. This eliminates the need for drains and offers other very real benefits.
The Advantages of a Drainless Tummy Tuck
The biggest difference between the traditional and drainless tummy tuck is a shorter, more comfortable recovery without drains.
After a traditional tummy tuck:
- Drains are removed by the doctor one to two weeks after surgery.
- Drain sites must be cleaned and monitored for infection daily.
- Fluid from drains should be emptied and measured as directed.
- Scars or dimples may form over drain site incisions.
After a drainless tummy tuck:
- No drains are present, eliminating site care and monitoring as well as irritation, potential infection and scars.
In addition to a more relaxed, comfortable and hassle-free recovery, the results of a drainless tummy tuck can be more dramatic because the suturing technique allows more excess skin to be safely removed.
Is a drainless abdominoplasty right for you?
Anyone whose confidence or self-esteem is compromised by excess abdominal fat that does not respond to diet and exercise, or folds of excess, stretch-damaged skin following weight loss or pregnancy can benefit from the procedure. Candidates should have a stable weight and no further childbearing planned.
FAQs about Drainless Tummy Tucks
If the procedure is new, is it safe?
Yes. In fact, a drainless tummy tuck is similar to the traditional version in most ways and the new approach reduces most complications.
Is excess fat removed during the surgery?
Yes. Drainless tummy tucks typically remove troublesome abdominal fat deposits with liposuction.
How long does the operation take?
Every person is different, but it typically on average 3 hours.
Where is the surgery done?
Drainless tummy tucks are done under general anesthesia in the hospital. Most patients go home the same day; some may elect to have an overnight stay.
Is smoking cessation before the procedure recommended?
Yes. This is an elective procedure, and smoking places an extraordinarily high risk on your chance of having a complication such as infection or wound break down. All patients must be nicotine-free for a minimum of 4 weeks prior to surgery.
Is dieting advisable before surgery?
No. The calories and nutrients from a balanced diet are important for recovery.
How long do the results last?
Results will last a lifetime unless weight gain or pregnancy causes the skin to stretch.
Is it true that a drainless tummy tuck can help ease back pain?
Yes. The back is supported in large part by the abdominal muscles and tightening them can decrease back pain.
How long will I be out of work?
Most people can return to work in two weeks.
What are the risks?
The risks are the same as with any surgery — infection, reactions to the anesthesia or other medications used during the procedure, blood clots and delayed healing. All patients are carefully screened for increased risks and the appropriate measures are taken to ensure a safe, complication-free recovery.
Will there be a scar?
Yes, however advanced surgical techniques minimize their appearance and the surgeon tries to meet each individual’s preferences for the placement of incisions. Most scars can be easily concealed under clothing, even a bikini bottom, and with no drains, minimal scarring is expected.
Does insurance pay for the procedure?
Not usually, however, if there is a medical reason for the surgery such as repeated infections under loose abdominal skin, an insurer may agree to help with the cost.
A drainless tummy tuck performed by a well-qualified cosmetic surgeon paves the road to a slimmer, more fit-looking body. To learn more, meet with a board certified cosmetic surgeon for a consultation. A more youthful, confident you awaits.