A tummy tuck specifically targets the extra skin that hangs around the stomach and can repair abdominal muscles, but only liposuction can get rid of the stubborn pockets of fat that may linger in the region. Some people only require one procedure or the other to achieve their goals, but others benefit from a comprehensive approach that combines the two. Increasing numbers of plastic surgeons are blending liposuction with tummy tucks in what are known as drain-free lipoabdominoplasties.
Tummy Tucks the Old School Way
In a traditional tummy tuck, a sizable space is created from above the belly button down to the incision. Over time, this space will heal and close up as the fat and muscle grow together. But during recovery, fluid can gather here and needs to be removed with a drain. In the first several days following a tummy tuck, the drain needs to be emptied multiple times a day and requires regular maintenance. This task can be cumbersome and unpleasant for a number of people, and the drains can be uncomfortable.
Preventing Fluid Buildup
Innovative surgical techniques have made the drain-free tummy tuck possible. Instead of leaving a space beneath the skin as with a traditional tummy tuck, the surgeon uses a progressive tension suturing technique that secures the abdominal flap in place. The sutures firmly attach the tissue and muscle together. The absorbable sutures are like quilting stitches and will dissolve during the healing process. The advanced suturing technique helps to prevent a seroma from forming, a complication that can result from the buildup of fluid.
Better Scar Healing
The quilted stitches, in addition to removing the need for a drain, offer another benefit. In a traditional tummy tuck, the stitches keep the skin together solely at the site of the incision. This method places a lot of tension on the incision site. The quilted stitches of a drain-free lipoabdominoplasty disperse this tension and result in an easier, more comfortable recovery, as well as optimal scar healing. Most people who have a drain-free lipoabdominoplasty experience a faster recovery and achieve a more subtle tummy tuck scar.
The Art of Lipoabdominoplasty
A tummy tuck on its own only addresses loose skin and weakened stomach muscles. By adding liposuction to the procedure, your surgeon can eliminate the problem spots of fat around the stomach and flanks and bring subtle contouring to your abdominal region for natural, nuanced curves. Blending liposuction with a tummy tuck can extend and accentuate the contours of the waist for a more streamlined effect.
Since the advent of the quilted suture technique several years ago, growing numbers of plastic surgeons are combining liposuction with tummy tucks, to the delight of men and women around the country. With more refined results and an easier and a more comfortable recovery, drain-free lipoabdominoplasties are on the rise and will likely continue to grow in popularity.