What Is a Modern Tummy Tuck?

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What’s the difference between a modern and a traditional tummy tuck procedure?

One of the biggest and most beneficial differences between a modern and traditional tummy tuck is the modern tummy tuck offers a drain-free recovery. 

Until about ten years ago, tummy tucks required patients to go home with drains to remove fluid build-up in the body.

The good news is, the modern tummy tuck makes drains a thing of the past.

Board-certified plastic surgeons have discovered a new, dare we say modern, technique to eliminate that fluid build-up. 

In the new method, after your surgeon has repaired the muscle separation, they will “tack down” your skin to the abdominal wall (sort of like buttons on a mattress), closing the cavity.

Because there’s no space for the fluid to accumulate, you don’t have to have those drains in recovery, which has been a real game-changer for both surgeons and patients. 

modern tummy tuck after photo 6 months post-op by board-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michelle Roughton of Amelia Aesthetics
Modern tummy tuck before and after photo 6 months post-op by Dr. Michelle Roughton of Amelia Aesthetics Raleigh, NC

Modern tummy tucks also typically include a long-lasting numbing medication injected into the muscles during the procedure, making those initial days of recovery much more comfortable and independent. 

So what makes a traditional tummy tuck?

Removing excess skin and bringing those abdominal muscles back together are what the traditional and modern tummy tucks have in common. However, unlike the modern, your plastic surgeon will not “tack down” the abdominal skin to the muscles in a traditional tummy tuck. 

Y’all, the truth is both liposuction (which is often included in a tummy tuck) and tummy tucks are pretty intense on the body with lots of poking around under the skin. In response to all of that poking and prodding, your body will create fluid to protect itself. 

Because there is a cavity or space between the skin and muscles, that fluid will begin to build up with a traditional tummy tuck.

To prevent that build-up, your plastic surgeon will attach drains so the fluid can safely leave the body to reduce the risk of a seroma or hematoma. 

To learn more about the specific tummy tuck and plastic surgery risks, stream the full series in the free Bustmob Academy app.

Drains used in recovery after a traditional tummy tuck
Drains used in recovery after a traditional tummy tuck

You can expect to have those drains 7-10 days post-op.

Typically, you are not able to shower when you have the drains and they also require maintenance like cleaning them out a few times a day. It can be pretty funky if we're being honest.

As you can probably imagine, those drains can be mentally and physically tough for a lot of people, which is why the modern tummy tuck has quickly won the popularity contest.

What’s a tummy tuck, anyway?

A tummy tuck is a cosmetic procedure to remove sagging skin, stretch marks, and excess fat around the abdomen and treat diastasis recti, or muscle separation.

There are 4 types of tummy tucks:

  1. Full tummy tuck
  2. Extended tummy tuck
  3. Fleur de lis tummy tuck
  4. Mini tummy tuck

The type of tummy tuck you’ll have will depend on how much loose skin and fat will be removed to achieve your aesthetic goals. To learn more about what is included in a tummy tuck, watch the full tummy tuck series in the free Bustmob Academy app

Diastasis recti before and after tummy tuck graphic
Diastasis recti before and after tummy tuck

Why should I have a modern tummy tuck?

A tummy tuck is the only way to treat the excess skin and muscle separation that can happen due to aging, pregnancy, or losing a significant amount of weight. And for most the final results are life-changing. 

Because modern tummy tucks have a lower risk of infection and the recovery times are much shorter and easier, we typically gravitate toward finding a board-certified plastic surgeon who offers modern tummy tucks

5 Reasons We Prefer Modern Tummy Tucks:

  1. No gross drains
  2. Long-lasting numbing medication administered during the procedure
  3. Shower on day 2
  4. Typically finer, flatter incisions
  5. Shorter, more comfortable downtime

Tummy tuck recovery isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but it really varies from person to person.

Overall, modern tummy tuck recovery tends to be shorter, more independent, and a little easier than the traditional. However, expect to still have another capable adult around to help you out for the first week or so.  

We deep dive into tummy tuck scars and recovery in the free Bustmob Academy app. Our tummy tuck series has tons of videos just like the one above to give you an overview of tummy tuck basics, myths, and FAQs. 

Found this helpful, but want more? 

Good news! This is just one of hundreds of fun, factual videos on the Bustmob Academy app to make your plastic surgery research easy.

From commonly told myths and FAQs, to recovery time and costs, Jenny Eden, founder of Bustmob, and Gretta Nance, lead educator at Amelia Aesthetics, break down your plastic surgery research into bite-size, binge-able pieces. 

Pair the Bustmob Academy app with Bustmob Community, a safe space to connect and learn wherever you are on your plastic surgery journey, and you are well on your way to being empowered and educated before you even set foot in your consultation.

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Jenny Eden
Founder, Bustmob Community
Gretta Nance
Lead Educator, Amelia Aesthetics
Ready to learn everything about plastic surgery?
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