What is a Drainless Tummy Tuck? And Is It Better than a Traditional Tummy Tuck?

Posted January 03, 2022
What is a drainless tummy tuck

A tummy tuck is an ideal cosmetic procedure for someone who has lost a massive amount of weight or for women who have weak and stretched-out abdominal muscles from childbirth. The surgery removes the excess skin and some stubborn belly fat making the abdomen flat and taut. But we never hear about the recovery process of a tummy tuck and how tubes are inserted to drain out fluids from the treated areas.

Thank goodness there is a no-drain option with the drainless tummy tuck. 

A drainless tummy tuck has transformed the recovery process by making it less invasive and stress-free because you don’t have to maintain the tubes’ hygiene or keep them dry. 

So, what exactly is a drainless tummy tuck? And where does the liquid go if there aren’t any tubes to drain them out? We share all the details about body sculpting surgery for the abdominal area. 

What is the Difference Between a Drainless Tummy Tuck vs. Traditional?

Let’s start with a traditional tummy tuck or abdominoplasty. A cosmetic surgery removes excess skin and fat to tighten the area around the abdominal muscle. A traditional tummy tuck makes an incision from one side of the hip to the other and around the belly button to reposition the navel. Two drains are inserted at each incision end to drain fluid that accumulates following the surgery. The drains prevent fluid from forming between the newly tightened muscle and the layer of skin and fat. If liquid forms around the muscle and skin, it will not properly heal and form back together. The drains stay in place for 2-3 weeks post-surgery. 

Drainless tummy tuck follows the same type of surgery: making an incision from one side of the hip to the other to remove the excess skin and tighten around the abdominal muscles. The surgeon uses a quilting suture technique instead of just pulling the skin down and closing the incision. The board-certified surgeon will use dissolvable sutures to “tack down” the layer of fat and skin to the muscles in specific locations from the sternum to the lower abdomen. Suturing the fat and skin to the muscle in this special quilting technique will minimize the space so fluid can’t form and collect, eliminating the need for drains.

What are the Benefits of a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

Patient comfort is by far the most significant benefit with a drainless tummy tuck. With a traditional tummy tuck with drains, patients must clean the tubes regularly to avoid bacterial infections. The patient must be careful not to move the drains even while sleeping, and showering is tricky with tubes because you have to keep the incision dry. 

Without maintaining or worrying about drains, the patient’s recovery is faster overall, and the surgical sites heal more quickly and with less inflammation. 

Where does the liquid Go with a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

Whenever space is created between muscle and skin, the body’s natural response is to fill it with fluid. That’s why the liquid needs to be eliminated for the skin and muscle to heal and form. The quilt-like sutures eliminate the space between the skin and muscles so liquid can’t form. So, with a drainless tummy tuck, there is no liquid to drain. 

What to Expect with a Drainless Tummy Tuck Procedure

A drainless tummy tuck is performed under general or local anesthesia with intravenous sedation. The board-certified cosmetic surgeon makes an incision from hip to hip and lifts the abdominal skin, removes excess fat, and tightens the abdominal muscles. An incision around the navel is next to remove excess skin around the upper abdomen. The surgeon will pull down the skin over the new contours then trim off the excess skin, including the old belly button. The remaining skin will be pulled taut and sutured with the quilting technique. 

The recovery from a drainless tummy tuck takes a lot less time than a traditional one. The patient will still need to wear a compression garment for about six weeks and avoid strenuous activities, but at least you will not have to worry about maintaining the drains. 

Am I a Good Candidate for a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

A tummy tuck should not be a solution for weight loss. It is a cosmetic procedure to get rid of excess skin and some fat around the abdomen. Here other attributes that make for an ideal candidate:

  • A person with excess and loose skin on the abdomen
  • Patients who have lost a significant amount of weight or who have gone through bariatric surgery, which resulted in excess skin
  • Women with weak or stretched abdominal muscles from childbirth
  • A person who is at their ideal weight and will maintain a healthy lifestyle of exercise and diet

Final Takeaway - Drainless Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck is an ideal cosmetic surgery to flatten the belly by getting rid of the excess skin and stubborn fat. With a traditional tummy tuck, it can take 2-3 weeks to see the results from the procedure because of the swelling from the surgery and drains. But with a drainless tummy tuck, you can start to see the results after the first week. The faster you can begin to heal, the quicker you can enjoy your flatter and toned belly. 

To find a board-certified cosmetic surgeon experienced with drainless tummy tuck, use our “Find a Doctor” navigation tool for a medical professional in your area. 

- VM


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