A tummy tuck, also known as abdominoplasty, is one of the most popular cosmetic surgery procedures for both men and women. This treatment is common with people who are looking to achieve a toned abdomen after losing significant weight, and women who have been through pregnancy and childbearing. Plastic surgeons remove excess tissue and strengthen underlying abdominal muscles in order to achieve a firmer, flatter, and well-contoured abdominal profile. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), there were more than 123,000 of these procedures performed in 2019 alone. What’s even more fascinating is that 9 out of every 10 patients who received a tummy tuck said that they were satisfied with the outcome of the treatment. While choosing an experienced plastic surgeon is the first step to a successful procedure, patients also have to contend with other procedure choices such as the type of technique used. One type of tummy tuck surgery that is becoming increasingly popular is a drainless tummy tuck.

What is a drainless tummy tuck?

A drainless tummy tuck is essentially a surgical technique that combines a traditional tummy tuck with liposuction using a layered suturing method that removes the need for post-surgical drains. Surgical drains are tubes that are placed close to surgical incisions after the procedure in order to get rid of blood, pus, or other fluid (so as to prevent it from accumulating in the body). Plastic surgeons start by isolating areas within the abdomen that have stubborn fat. This is important so as to sculpt and tone the abdominal contours while also minimizing the level of surgical intervention required to achieve the goals of the treatment. The next step is to create an incision along the abdomen that the surgeon uses to remove excess tissue and tighten the muscles. Multiple layers of sutures will then be applied to remove the need for post-operative surgical drains.

Benefits of a drainless tummy tuck

Compared to a traditional tummy tuck, a drainless abdominoplasty procedure comes with a number of benefits.

  • Easy and comfortable recovery – since your plastic surgeon uses a progressive technique to suture layers of muscle and fat together, areas where fluids usually accumulate are eliminated. This removes the need to place post-surgical drains that can be painful and difficult to care for. For this very reason, many patients find that recovery following a drainless tummy tuck is much easier as would be compared to a conventional tummy tuck with drains.
  • Reduced seroma risk – in a traditional tummy tuck, tubes and drains are usually placed in order to prevent seromas (pockets of fluid build-up). But these aren’t always successful. A drainless tummy tuck essentially removes the spaces where this fluid may build up, effectively reducing chances of developing a seroma to less than a percentage point.  
  • Less downtime – during a drainless tummy tuck, the muscle and skin tissue are attached together using sutures, which activates the body’s healing process. Patients have more mobility following this procedure and do not have to worry about the kind of discomfort that is typical after a conventional tummy tuck. In many cases, drainless tummy tuck patients are able to resume regular activities faster compared to those who had traditional abdominoplasty.

Is a drainless tummy tuck for me?

Different patients have different requirements and goals for treatment. When you attend a consultation visit with Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon Dr. Taylor Theunissen, the surgeon will identify problematic areas and develop a customized surgical plan for you. The surgeon may recommend that you go with a drainless tummy tuck if you do not have time for an extensive recovery period. There is also less pain and swelling involved as there are no spaces left where excess fluid can accumulate. If you desire a tummy tuck with faster recovery and a much better healing process, make sure to let your surgeon know during the planning stages of the treatment.  

What to expect after a drainless tummy tuck?

Following your drainless tummy tuck, you will be required to wear a compression garment over a couple of weeks to help alleviate the healing process and manage the swelling. The majority of Dr. Theunissen’s drainless tummy tuck patients are able to resume routine daily activities within 1 to 2 weeks after this treatment. You can expect to get back to work around this time as long as your job isn’t physically demanding. Over the next few weeks, you will start to notice improvements as the results of the procedure shape. The final outcome of this plastic surgery can be expected in 6 to 8 weeks. You should be able to maintain the result of your procedure for years as long as you stick to a healthy diet and adopt healthy exercising habits.

Drainless tummy tuck FAQs

What is the cost of a drainless tummy tuck?

The cost of a drainless tummy tuck will vary from one patient to the other depending on the extensiveness of the treatment. Insurance companies typically do not pay for this procedure because it is considered to be an elective cosmetic treatment. During your first visit to Theunissen Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the surgeon’s team will provide a cost estimate based on your individualized treatment. 

Can a drainless tummy tuck be combined with other procedures?

It is possible to combine your drainless abdominoplasty with other cosmetic surgeries. Many women in fact choose to have this type of tummy tuck as part of their mommy makeover. Other procedures that may be added along include labiaplasty and breast enhancing treatments such as breast lift, breast enhancement, or breast reduction. If you desire to improve other parts of your body in addition to your belly, make sure to let the surgeon know so he can create a comprehensive treatment plan for you.

Will there be a scar?

Just like any other surgical procedure where an incision is created, a drainless tummy tuck will leave a scar. However, Dr. Theunissen utilizes advanced surgical techniques in order to minimize incisions and reduce the risk of scarring. Following the surgery, the surgeon will put you in a comprehensive scar management program that aims to ensure that scars fade optimally with time.

Is this procedure safe?

A drainless tummy tuck is a safe procedure when performed by an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Theunissen. The surgeon uses the latest surgical techniques for the best procedure outcome. More so, Dr. Theunissen works with a team of highly qualified support staff who go out of their way to ensure the patient’s safety and comfort before and after this surgery. Once the treatment is completed, you will be provided with detailed instructions to prevent the risk of complications such as infection and bleeding.

Does a drainless tummy tuck reduce the risk of seroma?

A seroma is a likely side effect of a traditional tummy tuck. To the patient, this feels like a wave of fluid in the abdominal area. A drainless tummy tuck eliminates spaces where this excess fluid accumulates, thus reducing the risk of seroma formation to a negligent percentage. The surgeon may also perform a drainless technique to revise a conventional tummy tuck if a patient experiences seromas and other unfavorable complications.