Eric Mariotti M.D.

Understanding the No-Drain Tummy Tuck

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By: Eric Mariotti, M.D. (April 2014)

Dr. Eric Mariotti, a board-certified plastic surgeon near Walnut Creek, explains the ins and outs of the no-drain tummy tuck, including how the procedure works, its benefits, and what makes someone a good candidate.

Abdominoplasty, or tummy tuck surgery, is popular because it provides such an effective and dramatic transformation in one of the most stubborn areas of the body. A tummy tuck is the only thing that works for sagging skin and muscle laxity in the abdominal area.

However, a tummy tuck is a major surgery, and recovery is not a walk in the park. Now, though, a new technique is on the rise that makes the recovery process much more tolerable: the no-drain tummy tuck. I offer this innovative option at my Concord plastic surgery practice just outside Walnut Creek.

How It Works

Traditional abdominoplasty procedures used drains to prevent excess fluid from building up in the abdomen. The procedure creates a space between the abdominal wall and the layer of fat and skin above it, and this area naturally fills with fluid until those layers heal back together. Traditionally, surgeons place drains during the surgery so that fluid is eliminated and doesn't build up in an uncomfortable, swollen seroma.

The no-drain approach I offer my tummy tuck patients involves preventing fluid buildup by eliminating the space where fluid accumulates. Instead of letting the abdominal wall and other tissues heal back together slowly, I speed this process along by suturing the areas together. I use special internal sutures to close the space so there is no place for a seroma to form. The sutures are dissolvable and disappear on their own. This technique can be used in conjunction with liposuction or as part of a Mommy Makeover.

The Benefits

Drains are notoriously uncomfortable, especially for patients who are trying to heal and rest as best they can in the days immediately following their procedures. They can limit a person's mobility and restrict sleeping positions. The inconvenience of monitoring, emptying, and cleaning drains puts some patients off, and it often requires help from a loved one.

The no-drain technique prevents all these issues. Additionally, patients are less likely to develop an infection, are in less pain after surgery, and tend to recover faster.

Is It Right for You?

Although the no-drain technique is a great option for most patients, sometimes I still recommend the use of drains. This is usually for my patients who require the most extensive tummy tuck surgeries, with removal of a lot of tissue and a longer scar. The no-drain option is often appropriate for mini tummy tuck patients.

If you are interested in getting a tummy tuck, I will discuss this option at length and make a recommendation based on whether I feel it could be a good approach for your surgery. Whichever plan we choose together, you can rest assured that I will use only the safest, most up-to-date techniques to produce the optimal results.

To view results of Dr. Mariotti's tummy tuck patients, please visit our photo gallery. If you'd like to make an appointment to discuss tummy tuck surgery with Dr. Mariotti, simply request a consultation online or call his office at (925) 685-4533.

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