Reducing tummy tuck bleeding at the time of surgery is one of the most critical steps to minimize risk of complications and promote quicker recovery, as suggested by leading Los Angeles plastic surgery expert Dr. Tarick Smiley.
In his recent Snapchat post, the celebrity plastic surgeon is seen injecting epinephrine before making a hip-to-hip curved incision, which is the standard tummy tuck technique.
(Note: This curved incision is positioned very low that the resulting scar is easily hidden by the patient’s underwear. Furthermore, it is almost always expected to fade significantly and blend in with the skin after about a year.)
By injecting epinephrine, Dr. Smiley can significantly reduce the amount of bleeding, as this drug works by constricting the blood vessels. Aside from tummy tuck, this medication is also helpful in reducing surgical trauma and blood loss during liposuction surgery.
Once the epinephrine takes effect, the surgeon creates a small circular or diamond shaped incision around the navel so it becomes separated from the surrounding skin, but still remains attached to the muscle. Then, he creates a hip-to-hip incision that will allow him to remove the excess skin and tighten the abdominal muscle.
When separating the skin and fat from the muscle, Dr. Smiley uses an electric cautery, which can further reduce bleeding by sealing off the blood vessels. The “separation” is performed up to the breastbone, allowing him to suture and tighten the pair of loose muscle.
Aside from epinephrine injection and meticulous tissue dissection, Dr. Smiley says certain preparations are also critical in reducing bleeding. For instance, in his practice he instructs his patients to avoid aspirin or any other medications that inhibit clotting and healing 2-3 weeks prior to tummy tuck.
Some herbal supplements, vitamins, and homeopathic remedies can also increase bleeding; hence, the patient must notify her doctor if she uses any of these.
Furthermore, patients with hypertension must control this condition through lifestyle change (e.g., weight loss, more exercise, healthier diet, etc.) or medications well in advance of the surgery to prevent bleeding and poor healing, warns Dr. Smiley.