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Sieber Plastic Surgery San Francisco

Traditional vs. No-Drain Tummy Tuck

Traditional vs No Drain Tummy Tuck

When it comes to tummy tucks, there are two main types: traditional tummy tucks and no-drain (also known as drainless). While both procedures aim to improve the appearance of the abdominal area, they differ in terms of technique, recovery, and potential risks.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between traditional and no-drain tummy tucks to help you make an informed decision about which procedure is right for you.

Whether you’re considering a tummy tuck for cosmetic reasons or to address functional issues, understanding the pros and cons of each approach can help you achieve the best possible results.


A tummy tuck is a popular procedure that can dramatically recontour your abdominal area. There are many factors that can cause stretched skin and loose tissue in this area including age, pregnancy, and a significant weight loss. The stretched skin you’re left with in these situations can be impossible to remove with diet and exercise alone, so the tummy tuck is often used to achieve a more toned abdomen.

During the tummy tuck, excess skin is removed, and the underlying tissue and muscle is tightened. The belly button is also commonly repositioned during the procedure. A traditional tummy tuck addresses both the upper and lower abdominal area, and can sometimes involve contouring the sides as well.


Surgeons began using drains during the tummy tuck procedure to remove excess fluid that is present where the abdominal tissue was repositioned. This is important in preventing a seroma, or a buildup of fluid beneath the skin. The drain collects and removes the fluid to ensure a successful recovery process. Although important to your recovery, drains can add to your discomfort and create additional hassle during recovery for tummy tuck patients.


No-Drain Tummy TuckMore and more surgeons are ditching the drains during the tummy tuck procedure! However, this requires more attention when closing the incision sites in order to prevent a seroma from developing. During a no drain tummy tuck, a progression tension suture is used to limit the space between tissue after being re positioned.

These sutures are very similar to the tufting on a couch. With this space reduced, the ability for fluid to collect is also reduced, eliminating the need for a drain. Without a drain in place, patients are relieved of the hassle and discomfort of a drain beneath their skin.

Although you might have a smoother recovery process without the drains, there may initially be more swelling which goes down over time.


When it comes to deciding which technique is right for you, Dr. Sieber will be there to help! The decision to with a no drain Tummy Tuck is one made between the patient and their surgeon. Dr. Sieber will discuss your concerns and goals and help you weigh the positives and negatives of each technique to determine which one is right for you.

Questions and Answers

Which is better drain or drainless tummy tuck?

In general, surgeons and patients tend to prefer a drainless tummy tuck because it involves a simpler and more straightforward procedure. However, it should be noted that not all patients are ideal candidates for this type of tummy tuck. For instance, thin patients who have very little fat in their belly may be more prone to experiencing small contour irregularities compared to others.

Can tummy tuck be done without drains?

If you opt for a drain-free tummy tuck, you can avoid the hassle of monitoring fluid output or draining a tube during the recovery period. Typically, patients who undergo a drainless tummy tucks experience a shorter recovery time compared to those who have a traditional tummy tuck, and their scars also tend to heal more seamlessly.

Where does the fluid go with a drainless tummy tuck?

During the tummy tuck procedure, Dr. Sieber attaches the abdominal tissue and muscles using TissuGlu®. This eliminates the pockets where the fluid would normally accumulate, and where drains would typically sit. The fluid has nowhere to go, so the body just reabsorbs it.

Book your No Drain Tummy Tuck Surgery Consultation

Dr. Sieber a board certified plastic surgeon predominantly performs tummy tucks without drains because of the success he has had with this procedure. Not all tummy tucks by plastic surgeons are done drainless.

If you’re interested in the traditional tummy tuck or no-drain tummy tucks procedure, contact our office at 415-915-9000 and schedule your consultation at Sieber Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Dave Sieber and his staff are so awesome! Dr. Sieber is personable yet professional, his work is impeccable. He listens to his patient and works with them to achieve what they want. He’s like my hair dresser, a magician, you just want to do a happy dance with the results, only these results are lasting. Ok, but seriously, the procedure was very smooth, the staff and the doctors (Dr Sieber and the anesthesiologist) had great communication and made sure I was comfortable with very clear and concise pre op and post op directions. The healing process was very easy and the results are FABULOUS. Side note, Dr. Sieber has really awesome skin, I feel like this is impressive and important because really, would you trust a dentist with bad teeth? I am so elated and satisfied with the results, the size is perfect and they look and feel very natural. They are exactly what I wanted.*

SF Scientist

Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is a doctor who is not only extremely knowledgeable about the latest in cosmetic procedures, but a doctor who truly cares about his patients. I highly recommend him!*


Dr. Sieber is attentive, responsive, and well trained. I had seen him for Botox and filler and he had done both without any pain or bruising and more importantly the results were fabulous. He has met with me on time at each appointment. He communicates what to expect, made sure I was comfortable throughout the procedure, checked on my healing every day post procedure. He couldn’t be more delightful not more talented. I had seen other plastic surgeons for in office treatments over the past decade and Dr. Sieber is at the top of the list in terms of delivering the desired outcome and high quality care.*

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