Historically, tummy tuck procedures involved the use of drains and compression garments to avoid the risk of a seroma developing after surgery. A seroma is the post-operative collection of fluid under the skin. Seromas are problematic because they delay wound healing and increase the risk of infection and tissue necrosis when left untreated. Tummy tuck procedures have an increased risk of seroma development because of the large surgical surface area. It typically takes 3-6 weeks following a tummy tuck for the body to heal back down to its normal position. During this time, fluid can develop under the skin much like a water balloon. A drain is inserted to provide a place for the accumulating fluid to leave the body.
Many patients are hesitant to have the tummy tuck procedure when they learn about the drains used post-operatively. “Of the complaints that my patients have had over the years about the recovery process, probably the most consistent is the annoyance of having drains,” said William. T. Stoeckel, board certified plastic surgeon at Wake Plastic Surgery.
The drain-free alternative offered by Dr. Stoeckel utilizes a technique called progressive tension sutures. This technique involves the addition of several strategically placed sutures that anchor the skin to the underlying tissue, firmly holding it to the abdominal wall in such a way that there is no longer a space for fluid to accumulate.
Christina, a Wake Plastic Surgery patient, did her homework before having a tummy tuck. “After speaking with friends who had tummy tucks with drains, I knew I wanted to avoid them if I could because of the swelling they experienced months after surgery. I consulted with several doctors in the area, but they were not offering the drain-free procedure. I was happy when Dr. Stoeckel told me that he did. I had no residual swelling in the months following my procedure. I feel the lack of drains helped me recover quicker than my friends did.”
The drain-free tummy tuck procedure is performed by a small percentage of plastic surgeons in the U.S., but continues to evolve into the standard of care.
For more information on drain-free tummy tucks or Wake Plastic Surgery, visit www.wakeplasticsurgery.com.
Wake Plastic Surgery is Cary, North Carolina’s premier center for plastic surgery and aesthetic services. Headed by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. William T. Stoeckel, Wake Plastic Surgery is committed to understanding the surgical and aesthetic goals of each patient as well as providing superior personalized attention. Dedicated to providing dramatic yet conservative results, Wake Plastic Surgery promises each patient a comfortable and enjoyable experience with respect for patient privacy and safety. Dr. Stoeckel has extensive experience in cosmetic procedures of the face, breast and body. In addition to cosmetic surgery, Wake Plastic Surgery also offers its patients a full-service medi-spa. For more information or to schedule a consultation, visit http://www.wakeplasticsurgery.com or call 919-805-3441.