Tummy tuck patients at my Naples practice often say that the recuperation process is much easier than they anticipated. Still, tummy tuck, like most other surgeries, is not completely painless. In recent years, there have been new developments to increase
patient comfort without sacrificing results. Here are my answers to 3 common questions regarding pain management after a tummy tuck.
1. Are there techniques surgeons use to reduce discomfort? Yes. In my practice, I use a “no drain” technique that speeds up recovery and spares patients the discomfort and inconvenience of surgical drains. By using special sutures called progressive tension sutures, the abdominal skin is anchored to the underlying tissue, eliminating the “open space” left by abdominoplasty and drastically reducing the accumulation of fluid.
Additionally, I use a product called Exparel® for pain management after surgery. Exparel is a local, non-narcotic pain reliever that is injected into the abdominal tissues during surgery. For the next 72 hours, local pain is significantly diminished without the need for oral medications.
2. Is a mini tuck less painful? In general, yes. Because a mini tummy tuck affects fewer tissues, postoperative pain and recovery time are less than those of a full tummy tuck. However, don’t rely on the level of discomfort when deciding on a surgery. A mini tummy tuck only addresses the area below the belly button, so if your concerns are more comprehensive, it may not be right for you.
3. What can I do at home to help? The best way to ensure your recovery is as uneventful and comfortable as possible is to closely follow my instructions. With my no-drain technique, no compression garment is necessary, which means that only dressings are applied around the incision. Without a compression garment, drains, or prescription pain medicine, many of my patients actually feel well enough to get back to their regular activities before they really should. Although you may feel better than you expected, it’s important to give your body an appropriate amount of time to rest and heal. For most patients, this requires about a week of reduced activity at home.