Painless Abdominoplasty ~Is There Such a Thing?

So far I have seen 2 PS re:tummy tuck & breast lift w/ augmentation. One PS says all patients get lipo on abdomen, hips, & mons pubis. Another one says I do not need lipo at all, just TT. The 3rd one I have not seen yet advertises a 'painless' abdominoplasty & that his patients only take Tylenol after a couple of days. Is this realistic to not have pain? I can't find any information on a 'painless' abdominoplasty, so I don't know if I should even see this PS. Please give opinions on this.

Doctor Answers 13

Less pain is possible...No pain is not.

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I am a big believer in pain pump placement during tummy tuck surgery and it does greatly reduce post-op pain, but anyone doing a tight muscular repair will cause at least some post-op pain. A tight muscular repair is one of the greatest benefits of a tummy tuck for most patients.

I am also not a believer in BS and I smell BS in the "painless tummy tuck" doctors approach.

Best Regards,

John Di Saia MD

Orange Plastic Surgeon

Bearw of ANY "surgeon" hawking "painless" Tummy Tucks

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Every ethical Plastic surgeon would give up his front teeth IF he could have NO pain after a Tummy Tuck. It is a physical impossibility. Although there are many ways to significantly reduce the amount of pain after surgery, there is NO WAY to have a completely painless recovery. A physician who advertises such a recovery is lying and you should avoid him at all cost. If he tells a whopper of this magnitude, why would you expect he be honest about anything else, including his operative skills, the sterility of his instruments, his post-surgical care etc? Stay away! I am also uncomfortable with a Plastic surgeon who states he ALWAYS does something. As Plastic surgeons we are trained to be versatile and change our techniques to our patients' needs. We rarely if ever do something all the time because every patient is an individual with individual needs which vary. That leaves one surgeon. If you would feel better, see a few more but choose them from the roster of Members of The American Society of Plastic Surgeons. I seriously doubt "Painless Phil" is an ASPS member... Dr. Peter Aldea

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Advertising a Painless Abdominoplasty

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First I must compliment you upon trying to obtain 3 consultations. Sounds like you may need an additional 3. Second, there is NO such thing as a "painless" Tummy Tuck, makes no sense. Beware of Greeks baring Gifts!

I would be concerned about the ethics of any surgeon advertising a "Painless" Tummy Tuck

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Hi there-

While many things can be done to minimize pain with plastic surgery (including tummy tuck), the fact is that most responsible plastic surgeons would tell you it is (of the procedures we do) the procedure associated with the greatest discomfort and disability after surgery.

The vast majority of our patients do feel it to be a worthwhile endeavor (se the before and after gallery to understand why), but most would tell you their transformation was not without pain.

I would also be very careful about letting someone making such claims in their advertising operate on you... I think these kinds of claims are irresponsible and may represent a violation of our society's code of ethics.

Either way, I'm not sure I would want someone advertising this way being responsible for my safety and happiness.

Painless Tummy Tuck

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I do not see how this is possible.  There is always some sort of pain or discomfort with any type of surgery. A  pain pump can be used to help decrease the pain and discomfort, but it is never pain free.  I would seek out a board certified plastic surgeon who can discuss with you all the risks, benefits and alternatives to the procedure.

Arthur M. Cambeiro, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 210 reviews

Painless abdominoplasty???? Be afraid, very afraid.

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No abdominoplasty could possibly be painless, even with a pain pump.  And, really, would you want it to be painless????    If you felt fine, you would be up doing all the things you shouldn't do and would increase your risk for popping stitches, stirring up bleeding, getting a fluid collection (seroma) etc, etc.  I rarely use pain pumps any more because my patients were being way too active too soon after sugery.  Abdominoplasty is a big operation with real down time.  Just because we call it a tummy tuck doesn't mean it's just little tuck.

I tack down the undersurface of the abdomen to the deeper layer to close off the space between the two surfaces and also to prevent patients from twisting or bending too much after surgery.  If a patient is loading the dryer or raking up leaves on post op day 5, they will feel those stitches pulling (ouch!) and will stop.  

When I was using pain pumps and not placing these tacking stitches, my rate of postoperative seroma (fluid collection) was really, really high.  Now it is almost zero.  My patients keep their torso "quiet" while it heals because if they don't they hurt.  I provide plenty of pain meds and muscle relaxants but if they are overactive, they will have discomfort.

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

Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware)

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In the principles of patient-physician partnership, we, PS are obliged to be candid about risks, benefits, complications and the recovery process.  While much of the pain can be controlled with pain pumps, which remain next to the operative site for approximately 5-7 days, prescription drugs and positioning, the truth is that all surgery produces some discomfort.  Body contouring patients are for the most part, extremely motivated and should be commended for their tolerance.  On the other hand, they shouldn't be duped into thinking that their convalescence will be trivial. 

Lavinia K. Chong, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

"Painless Abdominoplasty Isn't"

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I think the myth of the painless abdominiplasty ahs been "busted" by the noted experts who ahve already responded here !

As for the lipo. I find it odd that a PS would say they do lipo on "all" patients in the areas you mention.  It's common sense to only do lipo where you have excess areas of fat.

Maybe you need another consultation.

John LoMonaco, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 276 reviews

Painless tummy tuck

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Your best option is to find these patients on your own and get your own recommendation or referral. I doubt that a truly effective tummy tuck can be painless, especially if muscle plication is performed.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Tummy tuck surgeons

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Very interesting what you are describing.  I would certainly NOT go to the "painless" guy because that just isn't honest and I would not go to the guy who does lipo on every tummy tuck because that clearly is not necessary.  So, that leaves you with one left.

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.