Drainless Tummy Tuck Surgery (Abdominoplasty) in San Diego

A Flatter, Firmer Abdomen

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Individuals who want a flatter, firmer abdomen turn to Dr. Dennis Bucko, founder of Belladerma Cosmetic Surgery & Skin Care Center, located in San Diego. Dr. Bucko is a leading tummy tuck surgeon that can create an attractive abdominal contour for better body image and more self-confidence. He has helped many individuals achieve the tight, toned-looking abdomen they desire.

Tummy tuck surgery addresses common concerns with the appearance of the abdomen. These concerns are often related to pregnancy, substantial weight loss, weight gain, or simply the effects of aging. After surgery, the abdomen looks flatter, the midsection looks leaner and the skin looks tighter. Tummy tuck can significantly change the way a person feels about their body. The waist is also often narrowed by the accompanying liposculpture.

What Is a Drainless Tummy Tuck?

Traditionally, tummy tuck surgeons have used drains during a patient’s recovery to prevent seroma, or fluid accumulation, after surgery. These drains were secured to the skin with plastic tubing to collect fluid; they remained in place for approximately four to 14 days, at which point they had to be removed during a follow-up appointment.

However, many surgeons, including Dr. Bucko, discovered there were numerous downsides to using drains. The drains and plastic tubing caused patients pain and anxiety, and prevented them from being able to shower and move around comfortably after surgery. Ultimately, Dr. Bucko made the decision to perform “drainless” tummy tucks, using special techniques to avoid the need for drains altogether.

As Dr. Bucko operates, he uses progressive tension sutures to attach the abdominal skin, fold by fold, to the underlying tissue. This leaves minimal areas or pockets where fluid can accumulate. Dr. Bucko injects a long-lasting, non-narcotic pain medication called Exparel during surgery, and it lasts for approximately 72 hours. This also replaces the “Pain Pump” catheters traditionally left in place for four days after surgery. This pain relief allows patients to get up and move around after surgery much sooner than they could with drains (which is important for preventing blood clots). Patients are able to shower the day after surgery and they have less pain and anxiety about dealing with drains and catheters or their removal. Not only is the risk of seromas lower with drainless tummy tucks; so too is the risk of infections. Patients go home with no tubes.

More about Tummy Tuck Surgery

Most candidates seeking tummy tuck have one or more of the following concerns:

  • Unwanted fat deposits on the abdomen and flanks/ waist
  • Loose skin that hangs off the lower abdomen
  • Separated or weakened bulging abdominal muscles

Dr. Bucko has a conversation with each candidate about his or her specific complaints and performs a physical evaluation to determine the extent of correction needed. He also inquires about the patient’s ideal cosmetic outcome, and advises whether this is realistically achievable. If not, he can gently adjust the patient’s expectations, or suggest a more suitable treatment alternative.

Dr. Bucko understands that every patient has a specific problem area, which is why he tailors the procedure to the anatomy and needs of the patient.

Individual results may vary

Lauren’s Tummy Tuck Story: From Cesarean to Sexy

Pregnancy usually leads to one of the most joyful events in a mother’s life, but the effects it can leave on the tummy can be less than desirable; even more so if the mother must have a C-Section. Over the course of four years, Lauren delivered three beautiful babies, all via C-section. She was unhappy with how her abdomen looked, bothered by a pouch of skin and fat that hung over the C-section scar and a protruding tummy from the separated abdominal muscles.

Lauren was aware of her options for trying to regain her pre-pregnancy abdomen, and having worked with Dr. Bucko for many years at Belladerma Surgery and Skincare Center in San Diego, CA, knew that surgery was one of them. We asked Lauren why she decided that a tummy tuck was her best option for giving her the abdomen she desired and how it left her feeling better than ever.

Why did you choose to have a tummy tuck?
After having 3 C-sections, I was not happy with the way my abdomen looked. I had skin and fat that hung over my C-section scar, which made the waist band of my clothes fit awkwardly. I also missed having a flat tummy. I felt like I had to suck in all the time, otherwise I looked pregnant. I even had people ask me if or when I was expecting. I didn’t feel sexy. I wore a lot of black clothing or shirts that were loose fitting as to not accentuate my tummy. It was hard shopping for clothes because I was so self-conscious and focused on how much I disliked that area of my body.

You mentioned you started considering a tummy tuck about five years before having one; what held you back?
It took me a while to decide because I had hoped that maybe I could avoid surgery if I worked out and cut my calories, which I did off and on during that time. It wasn’t until I hired a personal trainer and met with him weekly for about 4 months that I decided it was time. I had him give me intense ab work-outs to see if I could “feel the burn”, but nothing happened. I might have felt a little sore on the sides of my abdomen but certainly not in the middle. (After my tummy tuck, Dr. Bucko told me that my muscles were separated by about six inches!) No wonder I couldn’t feel the burn.

What did you do to prepare for your tummy tuck?
The first thing I did was, I stopped buying clothes! Once I locked in my surgery date, which was about four months prior, I made the decision to stop shopping and buying clothes. I knew that my waist size and shape might change so I didn’t want to waste my money on clothes that would no longer fit.

Planning the recovery process was important. I needed to plan around my kids’ schedule, who were 6 and 7 at the time. I arranged to have my kids stay with my in-laws for a few days starting the night before surgery, and then to have my mom come and stay a couple days to entertain and take care of the kids.

The weekend before surgery, I went shopping for groceries and house-hold items because I knew I wasn’t going to be doing any of that during my recovery. I also made sure all the laundry was done and the house was clean.

How was your recovery during the first week?
It was tough. Even though I work here and tell patients about the recovery process all the time, you really just have no idea until you’ve done it yourself. The day of surgery- walking, sitting, getting in and out of bed is a difficult and slow process. I moved really slow over the next few days, but it gradually got easier. The pain and discomfort that I experienced was frustrating at times, but it’s completely manageable with the help of the medications prescribed by Dr. Bucko and maintaining a positive, optimistic attitude about the process.

Did having a tummy tuck make you feel any different about your body/ yourself?
Yes! 100% yes. I feel sexier and more confident.

How did you feel the first time you wore a bathing suit or the outfit you’ve always been wanting to look better in?
I felt happy, hopeful, and motivated. I liked what I saw in the mirror. I enjoyed seeing the way clothes fit me how I always thought they should- like they did before kids. I was also hopeful that it was possible to have the body I always wanted and for clothes to fit how I envisioned. I felt motivated to work-out and stay fit so I could maintain my results and always feel this good about how I look.

What was your significant other’s reaction?
I think my husband was pleasantly surprised. He was supportive of my decision to have the procedure but he definitely didn’t think I needed it and still wasn’t sure until I told him that it’s on the schedule. Maybe he didn’t think I was really going to go through with it. Once I had the surgery, I think he understood that in order to get a flat tummy, I needed to have the muscles repaired, which can only be done with a tummy tuck type procedure.

What has it done for you?
Since it’s made me feel sexier, my sex life has improved. Most of the time, I wasn’t thrilled about getting naked or being physical. I was out of shape and tired. After healing from the surgery, I found that my sex drive increased and I was turned on by the way I looked in the mirror. I finally feel like I see what my husband has seen for the past 10 years.

It has also made a difference in how I feel when I run. Before, I felt like I was running with extra weight over my abdomen and the constant jiggling made me feel heavy and tired. Now, I feel much lighter when I run which makes it easier and more enjoyable.

Any regrets?
None. I can’t even say I wish I did it sooner. I feel like it happened exactly when it was supposed to happen.

Any advice for anyone else seeking tummy tuck?
You have to do what feels right for you. It’s one of the best things I’ve done for my body, our patients and everyone I’ve talked to that has had one LOVES their results. That definitely made me feel good about my decision.

If the patient’s only concern is excess abdominal fat, liposuction or non-surgical “CoolSculpting” may be a better treatment option. Liposuction techniques will remove isolated pockets of fat and give the abdomen a better contour, without modifying the tone and tightness of the skin and musculatures. If the abdominal skin and muscles are loose or otherwise problematic, tummy tuck surgery is needed for ideal results.

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Generally, a traditional tummy tuck procedure involves removing loose skin, eliminating targeted fat deposits, repairing damaged abdominal muscles (if needed) and tightening the remaining skin over the abdomen. The incision is made horizontally from hip to hip, low enough so that any scarring is concealed under a bikini.

After healing, the abdomen is flatter and looks more toned, and the skin tightly hugs the abdominal contours. Stretch marks may be improved or eliminated, depending on their location and severity and excess flank and waist fat is removed with liposuction also.

For some patients, the trouble spots are limited to the lower abdomen. If this is the case, a “mini or modified tummy tuck” may be more appropriate. A mini tummy tuck is a less complex version of the traditional “full” tummy tuck and involves a limited incision and quicker recovery. Dr. Bucko explores this option during consultation.

With a flatter, leaner abdomen, Dr. Bucko’s patients typically feel a burst of self-confidence. But the results are not simply psychological; patients usually discover that it is easier to fit into certain types of clothing, and that exercise and physical activities are more comfortable and the scars are hidden in the bikini line.

Contact Dr. Bucko about Drainless Tummy Tuck Surgery

To learn more about drainless tummy tuck surgery with Dr. Bucko, please contact Belladerma Cosmetic Surgery & Skin Care Center today and request a consultation.