Drainless Tummy Tuck

If you’ve had one or more babies or lost a significant amount of weight, you deserve to celebrate what your body has achieved. You also deserve to love how your tummy looks now as much as you did before (or more). If you want to get rid of the loose skin and separated muscles that are common after these changes, board-certified plastic surgeon and body contouring expert Dr. Thomas Hagopian can help with a drainless tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) in Atlanta, Georgia.

On this page, you’ll find answers to all your questions about tummy tucks, from the benefits they offer to what you can expect as you recover. Learn all about how this surgery can help you reclaim your shape and reinvigorate your body confidence.

Featured Drainless Tummy Tuck Before & After Photos

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What Is a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

A drainless tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure that tightens loose skin on the abdomen and repairs separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti) without using post-surgical drains.

What Are the Benefits of a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

A traditional tummy tuck requires post-surgical drains to prevent fluid buildup as you heal. While this reduces your risk of a seroma (fluid accumulation), drains have to be regularly emptied and monitored during recovery, and they require removal at a separate follow-up appointment. Many people find post-surgical drains an uncomfortable and cumbersome part of tummy tuck recovery.

To enhance his patients’ recovery experience, Dr. Hagopian employs advanced techniques to eliminate the need for drains. He uses progressive tension sutures to prevent fluid buildup at the source. These layered sutures compress the area, eliminating open pockets and encouraging your body to reabsorb excess fluid harmlessly. The result is a faster, more manageable recovery with the same attractive outcome.

What Does a Tummy Tuck Treat?

A tummy tuck corrects:

  • Loose skin and stretch marks on the abdomen
  • Excess fat deposits on the midsection
  • Separated abdominal muscles that contribute to a protruding belly
  • Small hernias*

*Large or complicated hernias must often be repaired before your tummy tuck surgery. However, hernia repair surgery may be covered by insurance.

Before and after illustration of drainless tummy tuck procedure
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Atlanta's Body Lift Expert

As a leading expert in body contouring and lipedema care, Dr. Hagopian is known for his compassion and exceptional results. His body lift procedures do more than make his patients look great; they offer functional, quality-of-life improvements. Discover the range of body sculpting procedures he offers.

Who Is a Candidate for a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

An ideal candidate is someone in good general health who wants to improve the shape and tone of their abdomen after weight loss or pregnancy. Keep in mind that a tummy tuck is not a weight loss procedure; it works best when you have maintained a stable weight for at least 6 months and are at or near your goal.

For safety reasons, you should also be a non-smoker, at least six months postpartum with no immediate plans to have more children, and have a BMI (body mass index) of 37 or lower.

How Much Does a Drainless Tummy Tuck Cost in Atlanta?

The cost of a drainless tummy tuck reflects the complexity of the procedure, the surgeon’s expertise, and other individual factors. We will give you a personalized price estimate during your consultation so you know exactly what to expect.

Many patients use health care financing to make their tummy tuck more affordable. Please visit our Fees & Financing page to learn more about your financing options.

How Is a Drainless Tummy Tuck Performed?

Dr. Hagopian performs your drainless tummy tuck while you are under general anesthesia. During this outpatient surgery, he creates an incision low on your abdomen from hip bone to hip bone and another encircling your bellybutton to release it from the surrounding skin. He then closes the abdominal muscles if needed, pulls your skin taut, trims away any excess, and closes the incision.

Once Dr. Hagopian tightens your abdominal skin, he makes a new opening for your bellybutton, suturing it closed carefully to give it an inconspicuous and natural look. In most cases, he uses SAFELipo® to remove excess fat and sculpt your ideal contours.

Can I Combine a Drainless Tummy Tuck With Other Procedures?

Patients frequently combine their tummy tuck with other procedures. Those looking to enhance their breast and body contours are often good candidates for a mommy makeover, and liposuction is commonly added to a tummy tuck for more precise contouring. In some cases, Dr. Hagopian may also recommend including a skin tightening treatment for enhanced results.

If you have lipedema or are bothered by excess skin after significant weight loss, a body lift procedure can offer a profound improvement in your mobility, comfort, and self-confidence. A lower body lift includes a tummy tuck and addresses the thighs and buttocks, while an upper body lift targets the arms, bra-line, upper back, and chest (usually with a breast lift or gynecomastia surgery for men).

Meet The Team

Dr. Thomas M. Hagopian

Dr. Thomas M. Hagopian

Plastic surgery is the perfect field for Dr. Hagopian, who has a knack for fixing things and helping people. He’s a former firefighter/paramedic, and he had a business building highly sought-after custom taillights in medical school. He met his wife, Nurse Hagopian, at Emory University, and they bonded over many shared interests, including a commitment to exceptional patient care.

Meet Dr. Thomas Hagopian Dr. Thomas M. Hagopian is board-certified by The American Board of Plastic Surgery
Chelsea O. P. Hagopian

Nurse Chelsea O. P. Hagopian

Nurse Hagopian is an Atlanta native, a self-identified nursing ethics nerd, and an ANCC board-certified adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner. She’s passionate about studying informed consent, empowering fellow nurses to use their voices, and collaborating with people in addressing their aesthetic care needs.

Meet Nurse Hagopian

What Is Drainless Tummy Tuck Recovery Like?

Most people need 2 to 3 weeks away from work to recover from a tummy tuck and 4 to 6 weeks to resume exercise. You will walk stooped over for a few days until your tighter skin stretches a little. It may take 6 months or more for your swelling to subside completely.

Dr. Hagopian uses long-acting numbing medications and enhanced recovery after surgery (ERAS) protocols to improve your comfort and minimize your need for narcotic pain medications. He also encourages patients to book weekly lymphatic massage treatments to promote healing. Our office can recommend a number of highly skilled providers who offer this service.

Additionally, not having to hassle with external drains greatly enhances our patients’ recovery.

What Do Drainless Tummy Tuck Scars Look Like?

Tummy tuck scars sit low on your abdomen in an area easily hidden, even by swimwear. These scars eventually fade to thin, light lines. We offer multiple scar reduction therapies to minimize scarring, including microneedling, steroid injections, and silicone gel strips from the Silagen® scar refinement system.

How Long Do Tummy Tuck Results Last?

As long as you maintain a stable weight and avoid future fluctuations or pregnancies, your tummy tuck results should last for good.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a tummy tuck/abdominoplasty?  

Abdominoplasty, colloquially referred to as a tummy tuck, is a procedure to remove extra skin and fat from the abdomen. The goal of this surgery is to improve the contour or shape of the abdomen. 

How is abdominoplasty different from liposuction? 

An abdominoplasty lifts and removes excess abdominal skin and tightens the rectus (6-pack) muscles. Liposuction simply destroys and removes fat cells, but it doesn’t address the skin or the muscles. 

Will I have drains?

An abdominoplasty lifts and removes excess abdominal skin and tightens the rectus (6-pack) muscles. Liposuction simply destroys and removes fat cells, but it doesn’t address the skin or the muscles. 

Is abdominoplasty covered by insurance? 

Abdominoplasty does not fall under the medically necessary category of plastic surgery. It is an out-of-pocket procedure at our practice. 

What are the potential major complications? Signs and symptoms? 

The most serious complication is a blood clot. Although this is rare, it is a medical emergency. Signs of a blood clot include swelling to one leg with pain and redness in the area, difficulty breathing, or chest pain. If you experience these symptoms, immediately report to the emergency room for evaluation. 

What are the potential major complications? Signs and symptoms? 

The minor complications after abdominoplasty are wound healing issues, hematoma, infection, or seroma. 

A seroma is a fluid collection under the skin. Small seromas will typically heal on their own. A seroma that is the same size or shrinking will often go away. Targeted compression on these smaller seromas will help them heal fast.

 A hematoma is a blood collection that is typically hard and painful and may cause skin changes such as redness, darkening, or bruising. Hematomas usually go away on their own, but if they grow or become extremely uncomfortable, additional surgery may be required. Both are usually unilateral, meaning one-sided. 

Occasionally, a wound can form on the incision, usually in the center of the incision in the area under the highest tension. This can happen for a number of reasons, including infection, tension, or the skin not getting enough blood at the end of surgery. Usually, these wounds are small and heal with a little ointment and a band-aid, but sometimes, they can be large and require treatment at a wound care clinic. 

What are the activity restrictions after abdominoplasty? 

You may return to light activity at 3 weeks and most exercises at 6 weeks. Light activity encompasses walking or stationary cycling, for example, without breaking a sweat. Wait 3 months for heavy core work. 

Do I need compression? What kind of compression is best? 

You will begin with a compression garment like a girdle or binder. At week 1, we recommend switching to a “faja” for more intense compression. The surgical team will provide your medical compression on the day of surgery and your secondary garment to begin wearing at 1-week post-op. 

You can see our recommended compression and order straight from Amazon. 

How soon after abdominoplasty can I shower?  

You can shower 48 hours (about 2 days) after surgery. Let warm, soapy water run over the incisions. Do not scrub. Thoroughly dry your incisions by patting them gently. 

How soon can I return to work? 

You can usually return to work in 2 to 3 weeks, depending on your activity level at work. 

What if I am not happy with my scars or appearance after everything heals? 

Remember that the swelling after surgery may take weeks to months to resolve completely. At the 3-month mark, we typically take the “after” pictures, when your swelling and appearance will be mostly settled. Small areas of asymmetry can sometimes be fixed with a little in-office liposuction if required.  

Scar revision is another in-office procedure that can help the appearance of your scars after surgery. If you are prone to keloids, please tell Dr. Hagopian beforehand so we can pre-treat you. If keloids develop after surgery and you have not had keloids before, steroid injections may improve hypertrophy. 

Begin Your Journey

If you would like to learn more about whether a drainless tummy tuck is right for you, please request a consultation online or call  (404) 885-8542. Our Atlanta office welcomes people interested in tummy tuck surgery from Inman Park, Druid Hills, Decatur, and throughout Georgia.

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