Dr. Patronella's No-Drain Tummy Tuck
Chris Patronella. Patients ask the question, and you’ve asked the question, how has tummy tuck surgery changed during my career? I’ve been in practice for 27 years, and I learned tummy tuck surgery a certain way. I do it completely differently today than I learned it because as with any procedure in plastic surgery, you have to keep up with what’s better. We can’t be stagnant. We have to always be looking for better ways to do things.
For 15 years, I’ve been doing what’s called a True Form Tummy Tuck technique, where anatomy can be defined, and the result is much more authentic.
It has a much more natural appearance. And I think patients really like it. It makes a woman comfortable wearing a two-piece swimsuit again. So, what about some of the functional things that have changed over the years with tummy tuck surgery? First of all, most people are apprehensive to even do the procedure because of the recovery time involved and the pain that they’ve often heard accompanies a tummy tuck. Well, those things have improved.
First of all, with regard to recovery time, we now use a medication called Exparel. It’s a long-acting local anesthetic.
We’ve had it available for several years now. It works incredibly well. It’s injected during surgery directly into the tissue that causes the pain, the muscle tissue, the fascial tissue. We’ve done actual scientific studies on this, clinical studies, in which we’ve demonstrated that you will experience a 50% reduction in the amount of pain that you have if Exparel is injected. So in every patient that I do, I use Exparel. It’s an excellent medicine. It lasts for three days. It makes those first few days after surgery so much easier.
Number two, I don’t use a drain or two drains like many do with tummy tuck surgery. The old problem with tummy tuck surgery is the development of fluid collections. And therefore, we had to have drains. But using the progressive tension suture technique that I use, if done properly, there won’t be fluid accumulation because that space has been closed. And therefore, no drain is necessary. Drains can often be uncomfortable as well, and this eliminates another factor in how someone recovers from this procedure because sometimes drains can be around for a week or two weeks or three weeks. And by eliminating them completely, it makes patients feel better. There’s less pain and easier recovery.