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Dr. Patronella’s No-Drain Tummy Tuck Technique

Making Tummy Tuck Recovery More Comfortable

Dr. Patronella says these two innovations have made recovery a much more comfortable experience for his tummy tuck patients.

By Dr. Chris Patronella

Patients ask the question, “How has tummy tuck surgery changed during my career?” Most people are apprehensive to do the procedure because of the recovery time involved and the pain that they’ve often heard accompanies a tummy tuck. Those things have improved.

  1. Exparel – a long-acting anesthetic. First of all, with regard to recovery time. I now use a medication called Exparel. It’s a long-acting anesthetic that works incredibly well. During surgery, I inject it directly into the muscle tissue that is responsible for most of the pain people experience during recovery. My group and I have done clinical studies on this in which we’ve demonstrated that you will experience a 50 percent reduction in pain if Exparel is injected. So in every patient, I use Exparel. It’s an excellent medicine. It lasts three days. It makes those first few days after surgery so much easier.
  2. No-Drains – I don’t use drains like many do with tummy tuck surgery. The old problem with tummy tuck surgery was the development of fluid collections; therefore, we had to have drains. But the Progressive Suture Technique that I use, if done properly, there won’t be fluid accumulation because that space has been closed; therefore, drains are unnecessary.

    Drains can often be uncomfortable as well, so this eliminates another factor influencing how someone recovers from tummy tuck surgery. Because sometimes drains can be necessary for a week, or two weeks, or three weeks. By eliminating them completely, it makes patients feel better, there is less pain and easier recovery.


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