Tummy Tuck FAQs

1) Why do I need drains?

There is a large surgical dissection above your abdominal wall, and this space has the potential to fill up with fluid and blood after surgery. This fluid is best evacuated with the use of surgical drains. Internal quilting sutures to help shape the tummy and close the space under the skin are often done, but Dr. Mackenzie believes that a drain is still a good idea.

2) How long will the drain need to stay in?

For a standard tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), the drain stays in for up to 2 weeks. For a mini-tummy tuck, the drain can usually be removed within a week.

3) I don’t want to have a big scar. Can I just have a mini-tummy tuck?

Most women who have had children need a full tummy tuck, to allow tightening of the stretched-out abdominal wall, and to remove the stretched-out skin between the belly button and pubic area. A small proportion of women will be eligible for a mini-tummy tuck if their loose skin and bulging is limited to only the lower abdomen below the belly button.

4) When can I go back to work after a tummy tuck?

It depends on your job. If you have a desk job, 2 weeks is best, but you may go back in one week. Most people want to wait until their drains are out. If you have a job that involves physical activity, you may need to wait a month or more.

5) Do you do liposuction with the tummy tuck?

There is often some fat on the waist that can be liposuctioned, and that is included with the tummy tuck procedure.

6) What other procedures might be done with the tummy tuck?

Breast enhancement, such as breast lift and/or breast augmentation, is often done with the tummy tuck, typically as a “mommy makeover” procedure. Liposuction of other areas, such as the thighs, is another common procedure done with the tummy tuck.

7) What are some potential complications?

Seroma is a fluid collection, usually prevented by the drains, but treatable with aspiration (removal of the fluid) in the office. Infection or bleeding are rare, but may require surgery. Wound dehiscence (breakdown) is very rare in non-smokers but would require surgical revision.

8) I heard tummy tuck surgery can be very painful.  What can be done to minimize the pain?

Exparel is a medication released to the market in 2012 and provides up 72 hours of pain reduction after surgery. Dr. Mackenzie was involved in some of the clinical research for this product, and was the first surgeon in Santa Barbara to incorporate it into his practice for painful procedures such as abdominoplasty and breast augmentation.  Exparel is offered for an additional fee.


For more information, see our page on Tummy Tuck HERE.

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