Hairstylist living in Boise would like to have a Mommy Makeover with Drainless Tummy Tuck. Will have to travel out of State.

How soon can I travel on a plane following the procedure? When can I return to 8hr days standing and bending over?

Doctor Answers 7

Healing and Recovery after a Mommy Makeover

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The Mommy Makeover is a combination of procedures to bring a woman’s body back to the way she looked prior to pregnancy. Most commonly some variation of a #TummyTuck and #BreastSurgery are performed. Additional procedures can include liposuction, umbilical hernia repair.  The most common #breastprocedures include #mastopexy or #breastlift, #breastaugmentation, or #breastreduction.   

Healing after a  #tummytuck will require time. Some patients are out of bed and walking the night of surgery and every hour while awake. I allow my patients to return to work at one to two weeks with 14 days preferred.  However, no lifting or straining.  At three weeks, increased level of activity and full with no restrictions, at 6 weeks. #MummyTummy is a term given to modified tummy tucks which can use liposuction and skin tightening with radiofrequency such Vanquish, Vela3, thermage, thermiRF and others.  The actual fat contouring can be done non-surgically as well with #UltraShape or Cool-Sculpting.
As I advise my patients, if your work keeps you sedentary, you may return whenever you feel up to it. If your work is strenuous, wait until your work activity does not cause any superficial pain.
Some employers will modify a person’s job duties so they can back sooner, but without physical activity. Our office can provide our patients with a note stating they are not to engage in strenuous activity for a specified period of time. The note will not disclose what procedure they have underwent. Therefore, you may have to request a similar note from your surgeon if you are not independently employed. I recommend avoiding heavy lifting and strenuous #activity for six weeks following your surgery. With that said, it may help you plan your return to work accordingly.

As for heavy lifting and other #strenuous #activities, it should be avoided for until you have clearance from your surgeon. You may, however, do normal activities at any time if they cause no pain or #discomfort. Let your body tell you what you can or cannot do. Aerobic exercise will raise your blood pressure, which could cause late bleeding and harm your result. Once you begin exercising again, start gently and let your body tell you what it can tolerate. Don’t rush!!  If you have concerns about your healing, or pain that you question to be unusual, it is important to call your plastic surgeon to discuss these further asked to be examined.

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Understanding the drainless tummy tuck

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The most important thing is to have a quick recovery, and it is possible that drains may help you recover faster for earlier return to home and work. The drainless tummy tuck is based on a technique called progressive tension sutures, which I have been doing for 20 years. The fluid in the drains is much reduced but not zero, so I prefer to use the drains although they can usually be removed within a few days.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Drainless tummy tuck - where to go?

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Thank you for asking about your drainless tummy tuck.
  • You do not need to go out of state -
  • You will do better (everyone does) if you have surgery near home.
  • There are excelent surgeons in Boise.
  • A drainless tummy tuck works well - but there is a higher risk of a seroma -
  • It is drainless because the skin is sutured to the muscle, so fluid is less likely to collect in one area.
  • But if a seroma forms, it is a nuisance because you need more office visits.
  • Find a plastic surgeon willing to do a drainless tummy tuck -
  • I routinely do drainless tummy tuck closures - but with patients' permission, may use a drain for a day or two.
  • Drains do NOT have to hurt when they are removed - injecting local anesthetic in the skin makes it a pain-free experience, not one to be feared.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Drainless Tummy Tuck

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I don't use drains unless I think they are beneficial.I determine whether or not to use drains on a patient-by-patient basis. Often my decision is to use drains if liposuction is done at the same time as a tummy tuck or if an extensive tummy tuck is required, for example, following massive weight loss. In those situations I have found an increased chance of having a fluid collection called a seroma, or prolonged swelling, delaying the final result by weeks. Use of a temporary drain seems to prevent this from happening. Those plastic surgeons that do not use drains for these more involved surgeries often rely on extra “quilting stitches” internally which lengthens the procedure and requires external elastic garments that may be uncomfortable. These garments, if too snug, can also apply too much pressure on the lower skin flaps, decreasing blood flow with delayed healing or other problems. The purpose of drains is to remove excess fluid such as tumescent liposuction fluid, irrigation fluid, local anesthesia, blood/serum, etc., so that the superficial skin flap can touch the underlying deep tissue (muscle) to begin the healing process. With drains, I do not find it helpful to use compression garments or binders while drains are in place and sometimes not at all especially for “mini tummy tucks.” This is more comfortable for my patients. Typically, drains are removed within 10 days but if you had significant liposuction done at the same time, it may be a bit longer. In general when each drain has less than 30 cc’s of drainage over 24 hours they are removed. Have trust in your surgeon’s recommendations but feel free to ask the rationale of their decision.#drainlesstummytuck

Hairstylist living in Boise would like to have a Mommy Makeover with Drainless Tummy Tuck. Will have to travel out of State.

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Thank you for your questions. Let me answer by saying that I think you have made some incorrect assumptions regarding your possible procedure. First, I would say that you do not need to travel out of state to have a good tummy tuck or mommy makeover. There are plenty of qualified, ABPS board certified plastic surgeons in your backyard who would help you obtain the results you want. Don't be fooled by flashy advertisements and guarantees of results. You will be best served by someone in your area.As far as the "drainless" tummy tuck, once again, beware of flashy advertisements. Some surgeons use drains, some do not. It comes down to personal preference and technique. I use drains because it eliminates fluid after surgery and prevents having to tap a seroma or fluid collection after surgery, which can sometimes happen even with "drainless" techniques. In the end, no patients "love" their drains and everyone is happy to see them go, but I consider them a necessary part of the operation and they are really not a big deal for the vast majority of patients. As for the activity restrictions after surgery, you need to discuss that with your chosen surgeon. Each person has their set of rules regarding activity after surgery. Hope this helps!

Do not travel for surgery just to avoid a drain after your tummy tuck

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  • I love tummy tucks.  They make a world of difference to how people look and how they feel.  I do tons of them and still my favourite part of my job is the "big reveal" when we take down the dressings.  
  • People often ask about a drain.  The purpose is to prevent fluid collecting in the pocket of space under your fat and above your muscle.  This space eventually heals together and the fluid eventually settles.  Both happen in the first week or so.  
  • Some surgeons always put drains.  Some never do. Those who never do use it as a point to advertise and differentiate themselves.  What they don't tell you is that they may have a higher seroma rate needing aspiration or revisionary surgery. I like to customize the decision based on my patient's individual needs.
  • Regardless of whether a drain is used there are still lots of steps involved in the surgery to minimize the risk of a seroma.  This includes how the tissue is elevate, how it is sewn, whether progressive tension sutures are used and whether a binder is placed amongst other things. Ask your surgeon about these steps.
  • If I use a drain it is removed in a few days with local anaesthetic.  There is virtually nothing to feel when the drain is removed with this technique.
  • The are many advantages to having surgery locally.  Do not let the drain guide your decision one way or another.  Pick a surgeon you believe cares about you and will provide you an amazing tummy tuck.  On that note the two keys to check is that they place the scar below the bikini line and and can make a perfectly natural looking belly button. Not all can!

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Hairstylist living in Boise would like to have a Mommy Makeover with Drainless Tummy Tuck. Will have to travel out of State.

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Tummy tuck is a big operation and one best done close to home where you have friends and family to help while you are recovering.  Boise has excellent plastic surgeons.  The use or non-use of drains should not be your main concern.  Drains are a nuisance but in most cases, really help with swelling and healing. Drain removal should be quick and easily tolerated.  Patients spend way to much energy fretting about drains!Like Dr. Baxter, I use progressive tension sutures in all of my tummy tucks but still usually use a drain for a few days after surgery. So my advice to find one of my colleagues in Boise and put that drain phobia away.

Lisa Lynn Sowder, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.