I'm Glad I Chose a No Drain Tummy Tuck
Procedure specific satisfaction rating
I got pregnant at a really young age and since then I’ve always wanted to have tummy tuck surgery. I guess genetically I never had very good elasticity in my skin and never had a flat stomach. My skin was loose even before my daughter was born and I've always struggled with weight loss and gain. I reached a point where I couldn't look in the mirror and find myself attractive. It didn't matter how dressed up I got, I hated my appearance. This led to me losing my desire to stay and shape and I started to let myself go. My diet became poor and as a stay at home mom, I found myself lounging around way too much. After waiting more than 10 years to make the commitment to get a tummy tuck, I decided to go through with it. This is my experience before, during and after my tummy tuck. I hope it can help those of you out there contemplating having the same procedure.
Looking For A Doctor
I met with three plastic surgeons in total. All of the surgeons I met with were pleasant, but two wanted to perform a tummy tuck with drains on me and one said he could do a no drain tummy tuck. The doctors urging me to go with with the drained tummy tuck both said that they did not trust the idea of tension sutures. They both felt it was 'gimmicky' and that a no drain tummy tuck was more of a marketing pitch. The surgeons said that they felt pockets of fluid collection still happened and if there was no drain, fluid would remain in my body. One of the surgeons said that he never once regretted putting a drain into someone, but did regret not putting drains in others.
The statements from the surgeons were very powerful, but I had watched so many videos of women who had successful no drain tummy tucks, and it seemed like one of the things tummy tuck patients disliked about surgery was the drains and the hassle they created. It gave them trouble moving around freely and they had to be drained and cleaned frequently. The more tummy tuck reviews I read from patients who opted for no drain, the more comfortable I became thinking it would be the right move. The surgeon who did want to perform a no drain tummy tuck on me told me that he had done thousands of tummy tuck using no drain and believed it was a superior way to do a tummy tuck. He almost hinted that other surgeons were using an old technique by using drains. He sure had be convinced because I picked him and you'll read below, I think it was the right decision for me.
I was very excited for my pre-op appointment because that meant I was just that much closer to having a surgery that would transform my life. I could not wait to get rid of all the belly fat, stretch marks and the excess skin I had. I knew it would be so liberating the day I could look down at my body and see that all that bad loose skin was gone.
Day of My Operation
I wish I could tell you all more about the day of my surgery. It's kind of a blur. I got to the hospital around 5:30 a.m., registered as a patient, changed into the hospital clothing and then they put these leg massagers on my legs to prevent blood clots. I met with the anesthesiologist and some other medical staff. I was told how the day would unfold and they gave me some medication right before I was going to be rolled into the operating room and honestly I don't remember anything until after my surgery.
I woke up in a recovery room and stayed there until my overnight room was ready. I saw my family once I got to the overnight room. My surgery had gone well and I had a compression wrap around my stomach. I was allowed to get up and walk around if I wanted to and there were no drains, so I didn't have to deal with dragging them around. The incision on my stomach was all taped up and it was sore. I felt like I did a really hard ab workout. Like I did hundreds of sit-ups. The incision itself didn’t hurt but it was sore underneath. I also had a few little stings here and there too.
A few hours after surgery, I was doing fine and was given morphine. I was a bit nauseated from it, but because I chose to stay in recovery overnight at the hospital I felt safe. I was not worried I was ill from my surgery. My stomach muscles were still super sore, almost like I I hadn't worked out in years and then did a very intense workout.
Night 1 into day 1 post-op was rough. I had some pain from feeling bloated and wasn't able to go number 2. I had to take stool softeners in the morning to help go the bathroom. My doctor told me I could take a shower, which was nice. I still couldn't stand up very much. The pain was ok but I had a headache, likely from laying down so much. I was excited to see what my stomach was going to look like when the swelling went down. I wasn’t expecting a perfect result, but I was hoping for the best. The swelling made it impossible to tell how my stomach was going to look. I didn’t get any liposuction, only a tummy tuck and the incision was really low, like a c-section scar, which I was happy about. I already looked good but very swollen.
I had a little bit of a reaction to my painkillers and had some shortness of breath. I went to the ER to make sure it wasn’t a blood clot. I was on blood thinners, but they say that sometimes with the medication and the squeezing of the compression garment, you can get fluid in your lungs and you need to make sure you’re taking deep breaths. I probably wasn’t doing that as well as I should have. I had two instances with shortness of breath and it freaked me out and that's why I ultimately went to the hospital. I was cleared at the hospital and spoke with my doctor, who told me I needed to take 10 deep breaths every hour. I did what he said and ended up feeling much better. Feeling like you're suffocating was one of the scariest things ever. Everything else was fine besides that. I only had very minor discomfort and didn't need my pain medication anymore. It was making constipated anyway, so I was glad I didn't need it. I took 1 Tylenol later in the day, but I didn't really need it. My husband made me laugh a bit and that made the area near the incision burn a lot. The same thing happened when I coughed too.
Day 4 and 5
I was up and moving like normal. I was a bit hunched over earlier in my recovery and by day 4 I was pretty straight. It was really nice not having drains at this stage during my recovery. I continued to take blood thinners and did not need any pain medication at all - I even stopped taking Tylenol. My pain tolerance is very high and any pain I experienced, came from my incision getting stretched (Standing up, sitting down, twisting, etc. I started experiencing internal itching and it was irritating because I wasn't able to scratch it. I had this feeling in different areas of my stomach. My stomach was still sticking out from bloating and being swollen. I started to worry that the swelling in my abdominal area was going to stretch out my skin and I didn't want a revision procedure.
Days 6 and 7
7 days after surgery it was time for my 1 week follow-up appointment. It was a quick appointment and I was in and out really quickly. My surgeon looked at my incision, said everything looked good and that was it. During this part of my recovery, I felt great but still couldn’t laugh, sneeze or cough because it burned in the areas that were healing. I got tired easily too, because my sleep schedule was off from laying around so much during the day. The surgery had taken a lot of me in a week.
It was still hard putting on my tummy tuck band after a week. This was because my incision was so low. I loved that it was low, but it was hard to wrap the band around it. If the band sat on top of my incision, it felt like something was sitting on top of it. Other than that, I did not have any complaints. At this point in my recovery, I was really hoping I didn’t have any extra skin and wouldn’t need a revision. I'm not a really girly girl - I’m a stay at home mom, so I rarely get dressed. I thought I might feel different about myself once I was all healed up and then I could start looking for new clothes. I was excited about that.
A Month After Surgery
My body was starting to take shape. Much of my swelling had gone down and I was feeling good enough to get a haircut with coloring to complete my whole transformation. I was ready to get back in the gym and started eating healthier. Thanksgiving happened to fall 6 weeks after my surgery, so changing my diet during this time was difficult. I was much happier with my belly than I thought I was going to be. My incisions looked thin but dark, although that was expected. I knew it would lighten with time. My new belly button looked good but had a weird crust in it. The doctor said I didn’t have an infection though. I stopped taking blood thinners after 12 days and the bulge in the stomach went away. I did have other bulges, but that was because I was overweight and not from swelling. I was beginning to see my flat tummy coming out and I began realizing my doctor did an amazing job.
Words of Wisdom
Be sure you are ready for the emotional part after surgery. I have read other tummy tuck reviews where people say they regretted surgery at first, but then they got better. I had similar feelings to these people, but was okay after about two weeks. I would say the emotional part of surgery is like when you start your period. You cry for no reason. I don't know, emotions are weird.
In summary, I am so glad I got the no drain surgery. Not having drainage tubes hanging out of my midsection made for an easier recovery. Make sure you find a doctor who has been doing no drain tummy tucks for a long time, because it is a more complicated surgery and you need to make sure your doctor places the sutures that tie your stomach muscles, fat and skin together correctly to prevent fluid from building up.
I wish you the best with your tummy tuck journey!
Thank you for this. I have read so many reviews about the entire process that I am freaking out. I was so excited about this and the reviews have now scared me. Your review helps so much because it provides a day by day experience. I have read that it is the worst pain imaginable. Women describe a c-section as a walk in the park and a tummy tuck as the worst thing. Thank you so much for being so descriptive. This review makes me feel a little better about getting a tummy tuck.