Advances in Tummy TuckPublished on
In the past, tummy tuck surgery, also known as abdominoplasty, often involved noticeable scarring, extensive recovery and uncomfortable drains. Modern advances in plastic surgery, however, have made way for techniques that result in a more comfortable experience for the patient and improved aesthetic results.
Read on as board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Debra Johnson discusses some of the latest advances in tummy tuck.
Mini Tummy Tuck
Traditional tummy tuck involves addressing loose skin on both the lower and upper abdomen, removing small pockets of fat and suturing together weak or separated muscles. This approach requires a horizontal incision made above the pubic hairline (low enough to be concealed by most underwear and bathing suit bottoms) and another one around the belly button.
A mini tummy tuck is a modified version of tummy tuck that focuses on improving the lower abdomen only. The horizontal incision is slightly shorter than the one used for full tummy tuck; and no incision is made around the belly button, because the upper abdomen is left untouched. While mini tummy tuck involves less scarring, it also results in less dramatic results.
Drain-Free Tummy Tuck
Some surgeons place drains during an abdominoplasty. Drains help remove natural fluid buildup between the abdominal wall and the healing tissues. However, drains have often been considered to be uncomfortable to manage during recovery, and inconvenient to conceal under clothing. The use of drains also comes with potential risks, including clogging and infection.
Today’s tummy tuck can be performed drain-free. Drain-free tummy tuck uses progressive tension sutures with a quilting technique that secures the skin to the underlying abdominal wall, leaving little room for fluid buildup to occur. Patients are able to shower soon after surgery, and don’t have the worry of drains.
Pain Control After Tummy Tuck
Abdominoplasty used to be considered one of the more painful operations to undergo. Now, with the use of longer-acting local anesthesia, the incisions and muscle repairs can be injected with local anesthesia that lasts 48 to 72 hours. This significantly lessens the amount of pain that patients experience, reducing the need for opiate pain medication.
Reducing the Risk of Serious Complications
One of the risks of abdominoplasty is the development of blood clots in the legs. If a clot develops, a patient runs the risk of the clot “breaking free” and traveling to the heart or lung, causing shortness of breath, palpitations or pain. Such an “embolism” can be life-threatening. Dr. Johnson maximizes safety by evaluating each individual patient for their risk of developing blood clots. Every patient’s calves are wrapped with compression devices to stimulate blood flow and reduce the risk of clotting. Patients are sent home with the “leg squeezers” to use while sleeping for the first two days after surgery. Those patients considered higher risk may be placed on blood-thinning medication for a period of time. All patients are carefully monitored for signs and symptoms (calf pain, shortness of breath, etc.) and cared for appropriately. But prevention is our goal. The best choice you can make in regards to tummy tuck surgery is to work with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon, like Dr. Johnson, who will tailor your procedure to your needs.
To discuss your tummy tuck options with Dr. Johnson, schedule a consultation. Contact her Sacramento practice by calling (916) 929-1833 or by emailing us today.