How A Drainless Tummy Tuck Gets Rid Of Excess Fat

Award-winning, Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon Dr. Brannon Claytor has been helping patients realize their beauty goals for over 16 years. He serves as Chief of Plastic Surgery for Main Line Health Systems encompassing Bryn Mawr, Lankenau, Paoli, and Riddle Hospitals. He is committed to patient satisfaction and safety, and his knowledge of and continual training in the most advanced surgical techniques provide his patients with up-to-date, cutting-edge care that yields exceptional results. He works closely with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan and is dedicated to helping patients achieve a long-lasting, natural post-surgical look. Haute Beauty expert Dr. Brannon Claytor explains the efficiency of tightening your abdominal muscles with a drainless tummy tuck.

drainless tummy tuckPhoto Credit: ShutterstockHB: What is a drainless tummy tuck?

Tummy Tucks are the gold standard for body sculpting, and the drainless tummy tuck sits at the top of the aesthetic ladder. The Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck tightens the abdominal muscles (rectus diastasis), removes excess fat using liposuction, and sculpts the body by removing excess skin. The scar is set low in the bikini line so that it is unnoticeable on the beach.

What sets my technique apart is the method of leaving Scarpa's fascia intact. This very important layer leaves the body's lymphatic system intact and enables the body to eliminate fluid build-up naturally. The traditional technique removes the body's own internal lymphatics and often results in prolonged use of drains.

Our bodies are amazing. They come equipped with a lymphatic drainage system that performs far more effectively than any man-made drain. Scarpa's fascia represents approximately 30% of the lymphatic drainage system in the abdominal wall. By leaving Scarpa's intact, the body naturally eliminates fluid build-up.

I haven't used a drain in over ten years, and I find my patients experience accelerated recovery and less discomfort with the drainless tummy tuck technique. I have been teaching this technique for over ten years at national and international plastic surgery meetings, and reviewing my patient data, I found that my own results of drainless tummy tuck incidences of seromas are substantially less than the published reports of traditional tummy tucks.

HB: What is the procedure like?

The drainless tummy tuck technique is far more complicated than simply not using drains. It is an entirely different operation. If you look at the tummy tuck page on our website, I have created a video that thoroughly explains the operation. The procedure can take up to three to four hours depending on what plan the patient and I have established. It is performed under general anesthesia at the hospital, and all patients go home the same day.

HB: Who is a good candidate?

Patients who have had massive weight loss or who have born children often struggle with excess skin and stubborn fat that just won't respond to diet and exercise. A tummy tuck tightens the abdominal muscles, and I use liposuction to remove excess fat before removing the skin to sculpt the abdomen.

HB: What is recovery like?

My patients are up and showering the day after surgery and wear a binder that helps with the recovery for two weeks. With a traditional tummy tuck using drains, the protocol is that patients limit activity, limit showering, and keep drains in to eliminate fluid build-up for up to three weeks, keeping track of the fluid output while the drains are in. The goal of the drainless technique is to get patients up and moving as quickly as possible.

I laugh with patients as I tell them that that they can go skydiving a month after surgery. Patients will find they can increase their activity every week as they feel stronger and they can expect to return to their full pre-surgery activity by a month - even if it includes skydiving!

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