Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Tummy Tuck Drains VS No Drains

A tummy tuck is meant to make the wall of the abdomen tighter and stronger. The process involves getting rid of extra skin and fat from the stomach, strengthening the muscles, and getting rid of extra fat around the waist. A lot of people also get surgery in this area.

Most people who get a tummy tuck will have swelling, which can last anywhere from 3 months to 3 years after the surgery. The weight of your body pulling down on it can cause this swelling, as can fluid buildup at the surgery site from inflammation. This extra fluid needs to be cleared through drains, which are tubes that are generally put into your body during surgery.

So what do drains really do? They are small tubes that go from inside your body to outside through a cut in your skin above your belly button. The cut depends on where the tubes were put in during surgery; it’s usually on either side. There are small holes in both ends of them so that fluids can leave but not come back in.

Tummy Tuck Drains: All You Should Need to Know - Stchd

Tummy Tuck Drains VS No Drains Review

Tummy tucks are extremely common as patients often want to restore their body to their pre-pregnancy state. There are several things that have made tummy tuck recovery much easier for patients.

One of the biggest advancements is that there are new techniques that allow your plastic surgeon to do a tummy tuck and not have to use drains. The technique is called progressive tension sutures. The sutures help secure the abdominal flap that is advanced down during your tummy tuck in position. By placing these sutures surgeons can often avoid the need for drains. This eliminates the area for the fluid to collect and your body can natural absorb what little fluid is produced as it typically does in your daily life.

Recovery from a tummy tuck is much easier without the drains as patients are able to walk after surgery without the worry of the drains being pulled on. It also avoids the pain and discomfort associated with the drains as they can irritate the skin where they exit the abdomen.

Please discuss your tummy tuck options with you plastic surgeon.


The no drain tummy tuck has continued to increase in popularity over the past several years as surgeon have gained experience in the procedure. I personally rarely ever use drains in my tummy tucks and I have been extremely happy with the results. The purpose of the drains is to prevent a seroma (collection of fluid in the abdomen), the no drain tummy tuck prevents this fluid collection by using a technique called progressive tension sutures.

Progressive tension sutures hold the abdominal skin in place and avoid any space for fluid to collect. By placing these sutures the body can absorb the fluid that is made in the abdomen naturally as it did before your tummy tuck. Without the sutures there is a large space where the fluid can collect and that is why the drains are needed to remove that fluid and prevent a seroma.

The biggest reason that I have been doing the no drain tummy tuck is that it makes recovery from a tummy tuck much easier. Without the drains patients are able to walk after surgery without the worry of the drains being pulled on. It also avoids the pain and discomfort associated with the drains as they can irritate the skin where they exit the abdomen.

Pros and Cons of A Drainless Tummy Tuck

When considering a tummy tuck procedure, one of the decisions you may need to make is whether to opt for a drainless tummy tuck. This type of tummy tuck involves the use of internal sutures to close the incision site, eliminating the need for drains to be placed post-surgery. Like any surgical procedure, there are both pros and cons to choosing a drainless tummy tuck.


Reduced risk of infection: Drains can sometimes be a breeding ground for bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. By eliminating the need for drains, a drainless tummy tuck can reduce the risk of post-operative infections.

Less discomfort: Drains can be uncomfortable for patients, causing pain and irritation at the incision site. With a drainless tummy tuck, patients may experience less discomfort during the recovery process.

Improved aesthetic results: Without drains in place, there is less chance of fluid buildup or seromas forming, which can impact the final aesthetic results of the tummy tuck procedure.

Quicker recovery time: Patients who undergo a drainless tummy tuck may experience a quicker recovery time compared to those with drains, as there is less risk of complications that could prolong the healing process.


Potential for fluid buildup: Without drains to remove excess fluid from the surgical site, there is a risk of fluid buildup, which could lead to seromas or other complications.

Increased risk of hematoma: In some cases, the absence of drains may increase the risk of hematoma formation, which is a collection of blood under the skin that can be painful and require additional treatment.

Longer surgery time: Performing a drainless tummy tuck may require more time in the operating room, as the surgeon must take extra care to ensure proper closure of the incision site to prevent fluid accumulation.

Higher cost: Some surgeons may charge more for a drainless tummy tuck due to the additional time and resources required to perform the procedure without drains.

Ultimately, the decision to undergo a drainless tummy tuck should be made in consultation with your plastic surgeon, taking into consideration your individual health needs and aesthetic goals. While there are benefits to choosing a drainless tummy tuck, it is important to weigh these against the potential risks and drawbacks before making a decision.

No Drain Tummy Tuck Recovery Time

Recovering from a tummy tuck surgery can be a challenging process, but with the advancement of medical techniques, some patients may now have the option of undergoing a no drain tummy tuck procedure. This innovative approach eliminates the need for drains post-surgery, which can significantly reduce recovery time and improve overall patient comfort. Let’s explore the details of the recovery process for a no drain tummy tuck.

Recovery Timeline

Recovery time for a no drain tummy tuck can vary depending on the individual patient and the extent of the surgery. However, on average, most patients can expect the following timeline:

  • First Week: During the first week post-surgery, patients may experience some discomfort, swelling, and bruising. It is important to follow the surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully, including wearing compression garments and avoiding strenuous activities.

  • Second Week: By the second week, most patients will start to see a significant improvement in their symptoms. Swelling and bruising will begin to subside, and patients may start to feel more comfortable moving around.

  • Third Week: By the third week, many patients are able to return to light activities and work. However, it is still important to avoid any heavy lifting or strenuous exercise during this time.

  • Fourth Week and Beyond: By the fourth week, most patients are fully recovered and can resume their normal activities. It is essential to continue following up with the surgeon for any post-operative care and monitoring.
  • Benefits of No Drain Tummy Tuck

There are several benefits to opting for a no drain tummy tuck, including:

  • Reduced risk of infection: Without drains, there is a lower risk of infection at the surgical site.

  • Improved comfort: Drains can be uncomfortable and cumbersome for patients, so eliminating them can improve overall comfort during the recovery process.

  • Quicker recovery: With no drains to manage, patients may experience a faster and smoother recovery process.


Overall, the recovery time for a no drain tummy tuck can be significantly shorter compared to traditional tummy tuck procedures. Patients should consult with their surgeon to determine if they are a suitable candidate for this innovative approach and to discuss the specific details of their recovery process.

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