Abdominoplasty Drains: How They Work and Modern Alternatives


Dr Bernard Beldholm

Abdominoplasty is one of the most popular cosmetic procedures for both women and men. Following significant weight loss or childbirth, it can be challenging to reach our ultimate fitness goals. Even with the appropriate diet and exercise that midsection can be difficult to flatten and tone. And this is generally why people choose a tummy tuck.

Yet, not all tummy tucks are the same. These days a drainless tummy tuck can offer the least complicated recovery. But in some cases, your option may still be to have drains. So what are the differences, and what does this mean for you?

Book your appointment online now

Benefits of a no drain tummy tuck

With the traditional tummy tuck, cavities can develop between the skin/fat tissue and stomach muscles where fluid builds up. No drain tummy tuck minimizes the creation of these spaces with the use of dissolvable suture techniques and glue. Lipo-abdominoplasty can take longer to perfect in surgery, but there are many benefits to consider. Make sure you understand which abdominoplasty procedure is available and whether it is suitable for your unique case.

Some benefits of the liposuction based Abdominoplasty

  • No drains
  • Sutures dissolve, so no removal is necessary
  • There may be Less risk of infection from drains
  • There may be less chance of seroma
  • No need to remove drains, which can be painful

Choosing a surgeon for you

Some surgeons may not yet offer the no drain tummy tuck, preferring the traditional method for this type of plastic surgery. Discuss your expectations with your surgeon at the initial consultation. Choose a practitioner who explains all the risks and complete details of your procedures. Your surgeon should have the experience and knowledge about both techniques, and they should be willing to answer any questions and address any concerns that you may have.

Dr Beldholm performs three types of Lipo-abdominoplasty. These procedures all address loose skin and muscle separation. And each is suitable post-pregnancy and following substantial weight loss.

3 types of Lipo-abdominoplasty:

Mini Lipo-abdominoplasty

Targets the overhanging skin on the lower abdominal area. Often a concern for women who’ve had a c-section. Includes extensive Vaser liposuction on the full abdomen and sides. 2-4 weeks of recovery.

Full Lipo-abdominoplasty

The most common abdominoplasty performed by Dr Beldholm on both men and women. Useful for post-pregnancy patients and post-weight loss. Treats loose skin on the full tummy, muscle separation, and excess fat.

Extended Lipo-abdominoplasty

The extent of the lower abdominal skin resection, extending around the hips is the big difference between full and extended tummy tuck.

What to expect from each procedure:

Removing excess fat on the abdomen and sides using VASER liposuction. Unlike the traditional abdominoplasty, VASER lipo-abdominoplasty eliminates the need for drains.

This VASER liposuction-based abdominoplasty is for post-pregnancy and significant weight loss. It targets some of the main concerns in both instances:

  • excess skin
  • abdominal separation
  • tummy and waistline silhouette

In traditional abdominoplasty procedures, surgical drains help prevent fluid from building up. Each drain is a transparent tube put into a small cut below the main incision and leading out of the body to a small pouch. Often the drain tube exits the abdomen through one or more incisions around the pubic mound. However, it could also be at the ends of the abdominoplasty incision. Drains allow fluid that would otherwise accumulate at the surgery site.

Drains make home and self-care more challenging to manage and can stay in for up to two weeks. Yet, they help prevent seroma following surgery. So despite being uncomfortable and inconvenient, they are sometimes necessary.

So why are drains used following a tummy tuck?

iStock 1026995716

Postoperative drains

Traditional tummy tucks separate overlying skin and fat from the abdominal muscles. The surgeon then tightens the abdominals and pulls the skin/fat layer down. Next, removing the excess tissue and suturing. This creates a space that, until healed, can allow fluid in. This can result in a complication called a seroma, a buildup of fluid that can lead to infection. It can also mean satisfactory results. As a consequence, drains help reduce seroma risk after a tummy tuck.

Drains can still serve an essential purpose in surgical procedures. Unfortunately, they can also be uncomfortable for patients and not pleasant to deal with. These drains need emptying, which is another thing to consider as you recover. Also, since showering is not allowed with drains, patients tend to dislike them.

  • New techniques used by Dr Beldholm pretty much end the need for drains with tummy tuck surgery
  • We use internal sutures, glue and the latest dressing technology. This eliminates the space between the skin/fat layer and the abdominal muscles.
  • Drain-free tummy tuck surgery is our preferred method.

Download our short guide: “11 Important abdominoplasty techniques that you need to know about”


Surgical drains are still commonly used in many medical procedures. But, their importance in medicine diminishes as surgical techniques develop and patient management protocols improve.

If you’re considering abdominoplasty, the availability of a no drain procedure is worth investigating with your specialist. If it’s not given as an option, ask why.

Bernard Beldholm Logo


30 Belmore Rd
Lorn NSW 2320


This website contains adult content. You must be 18 years or over to read. All surgery carries risks. You should seek a second opinion before proceeding. Results vary from patient to patient. See our disclaimer.
This is default text for notification bar