Patients understandably want to avoid post-operative surgical drains whenever possible. Surgical drains are used to help prevent a build-up of fluid (seroma) in the surgical area. Drains also help prevent a collection of blood (hematoma) from forming under the skin. These types of fluid buildups have the potential to cause infection and/or other serious complications. With so many risk factors, how can patients expect to receive a tummy tuck without drains?
The Drainless Tummy Tuck
Board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Ryan Diederich practices the progressive tension technique, which places a row of sutures that create progressive tension, allowing the even distribution of tension across the abdomen. The progressive tension technique significantly reduces the risk of fluid buildup and other complications. That means no drains! By eliminating the need for drains, patients experience a more comfortable recovery period after surgery.
Benefits of a Drainless Tummy Tuck
Besides lowering the risk of infection, other benefits of a drainless tummy tuck include:
- A better-looking scar
- Tighter abdomen compared to traditional tummy tuck methods
- Patients can shower the following day
You can learn more about some of the other, more surprising benefits of a drainless tummy tuck in our related blog post.
The Drainless Tummy Tuck Procedure
A drainless tummy tuck procedure typically lasts between 1 to 4 hours. (If your tummy tuck is part of a mommy makeover procedure, your total surgery time may be longer.) An overnight hospital stay is required to make sure that your recovery is progressing well.
Recovery After Drainless Abdominoplasty
Most people find that recovery after a drainless tummy tuck is easier than with a traditional recovery. You won’t have to worry about measuring your fluid drainage, emptying the drain, or reestablishing its suction after emptying it. And because you won’t have drains inhibiting your movements, it’s generally easier to move around, shower, and sleep. Some surgeons believe the scars with a drainless tummy tuck are also smoother.
Still, you will need to plan for some downtime. After surgery, expect to take 1 to 2 weeks off from work. Because the abdomen muscles are so tight, patients usually walk bent over for a few days.
After a 6-week follow-up appointment, most patients are cleared to perform up to 95% of their usual activities. Swelling can last for a few months but should resolve within a year of surgery. Scarring is inevitable, but patients can hide their scars under most swimwear bottoms with no issues, as you can see in the photos below.
Remember, not all plastic surgeons have training in drainless tummy tucks. Be sure to do your research before committing to a plastic surgeon. When in doubt, always confirm that the surgeon is board certified. Being board certified means that a plastic surgeon has had extensive training in all aspects of plastic surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
If you are looking to avoid drains after surgery, visit Dr. Diederich at his Glen Carbon, IL plastic surgery practice near St. Louis, MO. You can take a look at our patients’ before and after photos to get an idea of the type of results that are possible with tummy tuck surgery. Use our online form to request a consultation or call us at (618) 288-7855 to schedule an appointment.