Posts Tagged ‘tummy tuck recovery’

Tummy Tuck without Drains

Tummy Tuck without Drains Tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) have increased in popularity over the past two decades. And, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 130,000 are performed yearly. Certainly, today’s emphasis on fitness plays a role. One of biggest procedural breakthroughs is the elimination of tummy tuck without drains. No-drain tummy tucks translate to a speedier — and easier — recovery.

What are drains?

Surgical drains are soft plastic tubes used to remove fluids that can build up after a surgical procedure.

A section of the tube (drain) stays inside your body at the surgical site and comes out through a small incision. The fluids empty through the drain into a collection bulb.

In traditional abdominoplasty, one or two drains are used and must stay in place anywhere from three days to two weeks or more. If you have drains after a tummy tuck, they require care — you’ll need to empty the bulb and record the amount of drainage.

What then instead of drains?

In some instances, drains may still be necessary. But, for many people, a newer technique called Progressive Tension Sutures (PTS) can be used instead. This technique is similar to standard abdominoplasty, except it uses special stitches instead of drains. The stitches close off the space between the abdominal fat pad and the muscle and help prevent fluid from accumulating.

What are the benefits of PTS with a tummy tuck without drains?

Progressive Tension Sutures are proven to be highly effective. In one study of nearly 600 patients with these sutures, only one needed to have fluid removed after surgery. In comparison, typically 5 to 30% of patients with drains develop fluid collections that require care. So not only does PTS eliminate the need for drains, but it also does a better job than drains at keeping fluids from building up in the first place.

Progressive Tension Sutures tend to result in a more comfortable recovery and less scarring. This technique is commonly combined with long-lasting local anesthetic blocks. The blocks can reduce some initial surgical discomfort after abdominoplasty and make it easier for patients to be up and walking. The blocks can also lessen the need for narcotic medication, which means fewer potential side effects like nausea and constipation.

Emory Aesthetic Center for your abdominoplasty

If you’re considering a tummy tuck without drains, contact the Emory Aesthetic Center to schedule a complimentary consultation with one our expert cosmetic surgeons.

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Or call us at 404-778-6880 to schedule your complimentary personal consultation.

When is the Best Time to Get a Tummy Tuck?

eac-250x250A tummy tuck or abdominoplasty is a surgical procedure that removes the unwanted excess skin and fat from the lower abdomen improving the abdominal contour. It can be limited and only involve the front of the abdomen, or it can be extended to also address excess fat and/or skin in the back. Abdominoplasty typically involves reestablishing the native abdominal anatomy, i.e. restoring the muscles that have been affected by childbirth or weight gain. The procedure can be done with or without liposuction depending on your overall appearance and goals.

So now the question…when is it the best time to have a tummy tuck procedure?

When I meet with patients who want to improve their abdominal contour, it is generally due to life changes that have affected their midriff. These changes can be due to the birth of a child/children, the loss of significant weight, or just the process of aging in general. Depending on the specific change, my recommendation is to wait until that change has plateaued. Meaning, if the abdominal excess is related to childbirth, I recommend that your family is complete prior to having a tummy tuck done. If it is related to weight loss, I recommend that your weight be a number you can maintain long term.

Additional questions typically follow. “Can I get pregnant after a tummy tuck? I don’t know if our family is complete.” That’s OK if you are uncertain. You can successfully carry a baby after a tummy tuck. The pregnancy may affect the result and a revision could be necessary in the long run.

“What if I gain the weight back?” If you gain some weight back, the abdomen will appear fuller again but likely the skin excess will not be present so I would encourage you to again lose the weight before any revisions are considered.

Recovery is another component to consider if you are ready to schedule your tummy tuck. I recommend at least 1 week off of work to get through the most painful part. The first few days can be hard and having to go back to work will add unnecessary stress. Try to schedule the surgery during a less busy time in your job, and when you have accrued enough leave time.

If you are ready for a change, and it’s the right time for you based on the information provided in this blog, let the Emory Aesthetic Center help you realize your vision of you. Come in for a complimentary consultation with one of our board certified cosmetic surgeons.


or call us at 404-778-6880 to schedule a consultation

About Dr. Anderson

anderson-ericaErica Anderson, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor in the Division of Plastic Surgery at Emory University. Dr. Anderson completed her general surgery residency and plastic surgery residency at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and associated hospitals in Denver, CO. She completed a year of advanced training in Aesthetic Surgery at Grotting Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, Alabama.

Dr. Anderson returns to Emory University after being in private practice in Arlington, Virginia. While there, she maintained a busy aesthetic and reconstructive practice and also served as Medical Director for the Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Center at Virginia Hospital Center.

Dr. Anderson’s academic and research interests are largely focused on clinical outcomes with regards to cosmetic surgery. Her areas of clinical interest are diverse including cosmetic surgery of the breast and body as well chest wall reconstruction and wound care.

Dr. Anderson is married with 3 children, Trent, Connor and Fiona, and 2 vizslas, Max and Mimi.

Tummy Tucks 101: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

tummy tuck 101Tummy tucks – also known as abdominoplasties – have grown significantly in popularity over the past 15 years, and they are now one of the most common procedures performed by plastic surgeons. Part of the reason why tummy tucks have grown in popularity over the years is our increased focus on health and fitness, but another big reason is that tummy tucks can provide dramatic results. There have been recent advances in the procedure that offer better pain control and a better recovery. Now may be a good time to take a fresh look at some of the most common questions that patients ask us about abdominoplasties.

“Do I need a full tummy tuck, or can I have a smaller scar – say with a “mini” tummy tuck or just liposuction?”

There is not just one type of tummy tuck – abdominal contouring can include a variety of approaches depending on one’s individual situation. It is often helpful to think of a tummy tuck in terms of where the problem is. Is there too much loose skin, is there too much fat, or have the muscles been stretched or separated by pregnancy? If your skin is relatively tight then you may be a good candidate for a reduced scar approach, such as liposuction (tiny scars), an endoscopic abdominoplasty (1-2 inch scar), or a mini-abdominoplasty (a scar about the length of a C-section). On the other hand, if there is a lot of loose skin that you will need tightened, that will require a longer scar. If there is too much fat, then liposuction can be combined with the removal of skin – a very common situation. If the muscles are separated, then some sort of tummy tuck with muscle repair is needed, however the incision can be short or long depending on the skin.

“Do I have to have a drain after a tummy tuck?”

Historically the answer to that question was “yes”; however, new techniques have eliminated the need for drains in many cases. We now can use special stitches – known as progressive tension sutures – to seal the tissue together so that there is no need for a drain. The progressive tension technique has another advantage as well; it often allows us to remove a bit more skin than we could otherwise. Although I currently can’t prove it, I also suspect that the sutures help make the scar from the tummy tuck better because they reduce the tension on the skin during healing. Patients love it when they don’t have to have drains.

“How much pain will I have after a tummy tuck?”

Historically tummy tucks were one of the more painful operations that plastic surgeons performed, especially when repair of the muscles was required. Over the past several years, the development of some new ways of controlling pain has helped this situation a lot. First came the development of pain pumps – these are devices that push a local anesthetic through a small tube and into the area of surgery. These were very helpful and many surgeons still use them, but it requires a tube coming out of the skin. More recently there has been the development of a long lasting local anesthetic which can give significant pain control for up to 3 days, and it doesn’t require a tube. Good pain control clearly makes the recovery more pleasant. It also means that less narcotic pain medicine is required; therefore, there is less chance of a reaction to the medication. In addition, it may make the surgery even safer by allowing patients to move around more easily and to be more active.

“How long is the recovery after a tummy tuck?”

Well, the answer depends on several factors and to what level of recovery you are thinking about. If you don’t need the muscles repaired, it is likely that your recovery is going to be easier and quicker. Most patients having a full tummy tuck (with muscle repair) find that they are generally able to drive a car within a week, depending on their pain level (remember you don’t want to drive when on narcotic pain medicine). Many patients can work remotely from home, and find that they are able to log on to their computers, answer emails, or even have a conference call after only a few days, although they won’t feel like going in to work for maybe 2-3 weeks post surgery. Light exercise (e.g. walking or gently peddling on a stationary bike) can start by this time as well. By 6-8 weeks, most patients would consider themselves fully or nearly fully recovered, although it is worth remembering that the nerves will continue to heal, the scar will continue to fade, and the swelling will continue to go down for several months.

“Will the results last?”

Yes! As long as your weight remains stable over time, abdominoplasties are typically a ‘once and done’ procedure, never needing to be repeated. Of course your skin will age a bit over the decades, but it usually never gets back to the looseness that you may have experienced before surgery.

“After pregnancy, my tummy needs help, but my breasts do, too. Can you work on both at the same time?”

Not only is the answer “yes”, but combining a tummy tuck with a breast lift or breast augmentation – popularly called a “mommy makeover” – is very common. Moms love their little ones, but it is great to get their bodies back, too!

Will a tummy tuck help my stretch marks?”

That depends on where the stretch marks are located, but the answer is usually “yes”. A full tummy tuck removes most of the skin in the lower abdomen, and any stretch marks in this zone will be removed along with the loose skin. Stretch marks outside of that zone are not really going to be helped.

The board certified physicians at the Emory Aesthetic Center keep up with the latest developments in abdominoplasty. We are happy to work with you to help create a plan that is best for you.


About Dr. Eaves

Felmont Eaves, MDDr. Eaves recently returned to Atlanta, Georgia, to head the Emory Aesthetic Center as Medical Director, having previously completed his plastic surgery residency as well as a fellowship in endoscopic and minimally invasive plastic surgery at Emory University, The Emory Clinic, and associated hospitals. Before joining the Emory Aesthetic Center, Dr. Eaves was a partner in Charlotte Plastic Surgery for more than fifteen years and served as group president from 2010-2012.

His professional and institutional committee memberships and offices include an impressive list of national, international and local plastic surgery organizations, societies, boards, task forces, advisory councils, coalitions and foundations, including having served as President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) from 2010-2011 and Trustee (2011-Present).

Dr. Eaves’ primary areas of academic inquiry have been in minimally-invasive and endoscopic aesthetic surgery, patient safety, system and process improvement in plastic surgery, evidence-based medicine applied to plastic surgery and recontouring surgery after massive weight loss. He has received several patents for new medical devices he developed, and has made major clinical service contributions to his field. Dr. Eaves has published more than 100 articles, book chapters and book reviews on plastic surgery in peer reviewed publications, as well as manuals, videos, computer programs and other teaching aids and has coauthored the first textbook on the topic of endoscopic plastic surgery.

Get Ready for Summer! Join our Live Chat on Body Contouring

Body Contouring ChatWith the warmer weather fast approaching, it’s time to start trading in those hats and gloves for shorts and swimsuits. To help get your body ready for the summer, join Emory Aesthetic Center plastic surgeon, Dr. Felmont Eaves, on Tuesday, March 10, 2014 from Noon – 1PM as he discusses body contouring options that can help improve the shape of your body and tighten excess or loose skin. Dr. Eaves will walk you through both surgical and non-surgical options – including liposuction, tummy tucks, arm or thigh lifts and surgery after weight loss. If the normal effects of aging or childbearing have made you wonder if a cosmetic body contouring procedure is right for you, you won’t want to miss this chat.

Dr. Eaves will answer all of your questions to ensure you are confidently ready to take the next step such as:

  • What are the different types of body contouring options offered to me?
  • What types of results can I expect to see?
  • Are there non-surgical options to firming my body?
  • What can a body lift surgery do for my figure?
  • How long is the recovery time after a liposuction?
  • Does a tummy tuck or body lift leave scars?
  • What is the benefit of having my body contouring procedure performed at a place like Emory Aesthetic Center?

Sign Up

Chat Details:

Date: Tuesday, March, 10, 2015
Time: 12 noon – 1pm EST
Chat leaders: Dr. Felmont Eaves
Chat Topic: Body Contouring: Getting Ready for Summer

Tummy Tucks Part II – Tummy Tuck Recovery Expectations & Results

Tummy Tuck Before After

In the past, tummy tucks were one of the more difficult aesthetic surgery procedures to recover from, but recent advances have improved the recovery period significantly.

For instance, the use of certain deep suturing techniques – called progressive tension sutures – have eliminated the need for postoperative drains in many cases. In addition, new methods of pain control including pain pumps and long-lasting injections of local anesthetic can make it much easier to get comfortable and move around during the early post-operative period. Furthermore, these types of pain control often mean that you need fewer pain pills by mouth, and that helps prevent constipation after tummy tuck surgery.

Overall recovery after a tummy tuck varies for every patient, but most patients are driving a car in a week or less and are often able to return to work in 2-3 weeks, depending on the physical requirements at work. Light exercise like walking is encouraged early in your recovery, and your physician will guide you in how quickly you should advance to a full workout. Most of the swelling from surgery is gone by 3-4 weeks, but it may take 3-4 months are longer until all of the swelling is gone. The scar will continue to fade and improve for at least a year.

Tummy tucks are becoming more and more popular because they work . . . after you are healed, the results can be dramatic. Patients feel they look better in their clothes (and out) and many patients who have shunned bathing suits for years feel comfortable letting their midriff show at the pool or beach. A tummy tuck can really give a sense of freedom and confidence.

If you are thinking about a tummy tuck or other body contouring procedure, come and visit us at the Emory Aesthetic Center. We can help you figure out the options that are best for you and fit your needs.

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