What is a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck is a popular procedure for patients who want to remove excess skin and fat around their tummy to achieve a flat, washboard stomach. Whether the excess skin is due to pregnancy, major weight gain and loss, aging, or just genetics, exercise alone won’t remove excess skin from the body. A tummy tuck, though, has the ability to completely transform your shape and self-esteem.

Because of the complexity and breadth of a tummy tuck, drains are typically required after the procedure to remove excess fluid buildup. When fluid builds up under the incision it is called a seroma. The fluid inside a seroma is composed of blood plasma that has seeped out of ruptured small blood vessels as well as the inflammatory fluid produced by injured and dying cells.

Drains are important for preventing seromas, but they’re not a lot of fun to look at or empty. Happily, some patients qualify for the innovative drainless tummy tuck.

What is a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

A drainless tummy tuck is just what it sounds like. Surgeons performing a drainless tummy tuck use a slightly different surgical technique so that drains are unnecessary. The recovery time is a bit faster without drains and you won’t have to worry about emptying them, cleaning them, or having them removed later. This is a great option if you’re eligible, but not everyone is.

Who Can Get a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

Patients within ten pounds of their ideal body weight are the best candidates for a drainless tummy tuck, as are those with only small pouches of excess skin. Patients undergoing more extensive tummy tucks to remove large amounts of skin will likely need to stick to drains to ensure proper healing.

You should also be in generally good health before your tummy tuck and be done having babies. As is true of a conventional tummy tuck, future pregnancies are safe after a drainless tummy tuck but will stretch your belly and distort your surgical results.

Drainless Tummy Tuck Vs. Standard Tummy Tuck

A drainless tummy tuck begins in the same way as a normal tummy tuck. Your surgeon will make an incision low on your abdomen from hip to hip. He will then cut away any excess skin and fat. If necessary, he will also repair the muscles of your abdominal wall. The two procedures differ in their closing techniques.

In a traditional tummy tuck, your surgeon will pull your remaining skin tight over your belly and use stitches to close his incision. This procedure leaves a space, however, between your muscles and your skin. It’s in this space that seromas can form as your body creates fluid faster than your lymphatic system can absorb it. To prevent this space, a surgeon performing a drainless tummy tuck closes his incision using multiple layers of sutures, essentially tying your skin and muscle together so there is no space. This forces any fluid to spread across your entire abdomen so your body can more readily absorb it.

Pros and Cons of a Drainless Tummy Tuck

As is true of all surgical procedures, it’s always wise to understand the pros and cons of your choices. Drainless tummy tucks have very few cons, but they are still a surgical procedure that you need to carefully weigh.

Pros

After a traditional tummy tuck, you’ll need to empty your drains and measure the amount of fluid that comes out of them when you do. You will also have to dress in a way that accommodates your drains without rubbing on them or irritating you. A drainless tummy tuck skips over these inconveniences for faster, easier recovery. The recovery process is simply easier and more comfortable without the hassle of drains.

Pros:

  • Faster recovery
  • Movement isn’t as restricted as with drains
  • Clothes fit better without drains
  • There is nothing to remove after surgery
  • No emptying or measuring drained fluid

Cons

Unfortunately, not every patient is a candidate for a drainless tummy tuck. If you need to remove a large amount of excess skin, you may need to stick with a traditional tummy tuck. A drainless tummy tuck surgery also takes longer to perform, so you will be on the operating table and under anesthesia for a longer amount of time.

Very thin patients may struggle with a drainless tummy tuck because there is nowhere for accumulating fluid to hide. Fluid leftover from the surgery may create a few lumps and bumps that, while hidden behind the body fat of most people, might show in someone who is extremely slim.

Cons:

  • Not everyone is a good candidate
  • Very slim people may not get the desired results
  • The procedure takes longer, meaning more anesthesia

Is a Drainless Tummy Tuck Safe?

Every surgery comes with a certain amount of risk, but drainless tummy tucks are just as safe as traditional ones. You will be under anesthesia for about 40 minutes longer during a drainless tummy tuck, but we will monitor you closely as we do all of our patients when they are under anesthesia. This is typically not cause for concern.

How Painful is a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

A drainless tummy tuck is less painful than a traditional tummy tuck. This is because there are no drains to get irritated or sore. There is also no need to remove drains from an incision that is starting to heal, which can cause irritation and be a bit uncomfortable. We will, of course, give you a prescription to help you deal with any discomfort, but most patients tolerate a drainless tummy tuck more easily than a traditional one.

Regardless of the type of tummy tuck you choose, you should feel a little better every day after your surgery and be able to easily manage any pain with your pain medication. If your pain gets worse, please reach out to us as this could be a sign of complications.

How Much is a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

At Mia Aesthetics, we pride ourselves on making plastic surgery affordable without compromising your safety. The exact amount you will pay for a drainless tummy tuck will depend on several factors, including your specific needs. Patients often add liposuction to the procedure, which adds to the cost as well. The price of a tummy tuck also varies from one surgeon to another, even within the Mia Aesthetics family.

Our tummy tucks start at $4,300, which is well below the national average of $6,154. We also offer several financing options and run periodic specials to help make your plastic surgery dream a reality.

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