Tummy Tuck Without Drainage Tubes

i'm 38yrs.old, 2children 14&12. would tummy tuck harm tubal ligation?  Is there a tummy tuck available without drainage tubes?

Doctor Answers (17)

Tummy Tuck yes, drains no


I have not used a drain in a tummy tuck for 10 years, or needed to open a wound for bleeding/fluid during that time.  Drains are not fully effective in preventing fluid collections, they act as a potential path for bacteria to enter the wound, can be accidently pulled out too early, they are a nuisance for patients and may limit mobility after surgery. 

Progressive tension sutures do add some time to the surgery, and can make surgery a bit more painful, but have several advantages beyond preventing large fluid collections.  They give the surgeon the ability to pull the flap down across the wound and thus allow the final wound edge approximation to be performed without tension (less scarring), and with a final scar height that is lower on the abdomen and easier to hide in a bikini.

Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Tummy tuck without drain tubes


Yes, tummy tuck can be done without using drain tubes.   It is surgeons' preference.  Progressive tension suture method can eliminate the need for drain placement; however, it is more painful than tummy tuck with drains.  Tummy tuck does not hurt tubal ligation as tummy tuck does not involve going intraabdominal space where fallopian tubes lie.

Sugene Kim, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

TummyTuck without drains


It is safe to perform a tummy tuck without drain, provided care is taken to prevent a seroma formation through a tight closure of the tummy tuck area.  We have not used drains on our patients in almost two years since we started using a new closure technique and we have not had any problems.  We are very happy with this as our patients love not having drains.


Martin Jugenburg, MD

Martin Jugenburg, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 138 reviews

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Tummy Tuck without drains....not a great idea....




it is possible to do a tummy tuck without the use of drains, but when a pain pump is added they are really a must. The fluid put in by the pain pump can pool as can the fluid produced by the wound and this can affect the quality of the results. Why take the chance? The pain pump really minimizes pain from the surgery and the drains ....and although they are not a fan favorite, they are less bothersome than they were before pain pumps were added to the mix.


Best Regards,


John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Tummy Tuck without Drains


Dear Fayetteville9231,

The short answer is that, yes, it is possible to have a tummy tuck without drains.  Drains are, in fact, a little annoying.

But the question is why would any surgeons then use drains?  And the answer is that if some fluid accumulates beneath the tissues (we're talking blood, serous fluid, etc) it can become infected and many if not most surgeons prefer to leave some sort of drains in place for up to a week or so to help the fluid come out.  It's not THAT bad (I know, easy for me to say) and it does assist in getting that fluid out.

Of course, there are other surgeons who are comfortable doing this procedure without drains in selected cases, or even routinely.  I don't know what their criteria are for doing the procedure without drains but I generally use them for a tummy tuck and would not be comfortable, in general, not using them.

I hope that this helps, and good luck,

Dr. E

Author of BodySculpture, EyeScapes, Restylane and The Slim Book of Liposuction

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Drainage Tubes with Tummy Tuck


I always place drains at the time of a tummy tuck.  I feel that they may a bit of a nuisance but that they are well worth it.  They are not particularly painful and do require keeping a record of the amount of drainage.  I think they are useful even if progressive tension sutures or quilting sutures are placed.  As far as your previous BTL is concerned, the tummy tuck will not harm that nor make you fertile.

John Whitt, MD
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Tummy tuck without drains is possible


As mentioned, the technique you are referring to is called Progressive Tension Sutures.  In the right patient, drains may not be necessary.  I have done this several times with great success.  Other times, I use one drain instead of two just to be on the safe side.  Either way, you shouldn't be afraid of drains.  They are only a small inconvenience and are usually removed within 5-7 days following surgery.  Good luck!


Dr. Singer

Elan B. Singer, MD
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

No-drain tube abdominoplasty


The technique that you are asking about is called the Progressive Tension Suture method, which I have been using for more than 12 years. I do still use drains on some patients but some proponents of it believe it isn't ever necessary. Dr. Pollock in Dallas is the pioneer of the procedure. It won't have any efefct on the tubal ligation.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Tummy tuck without drains


A tummy tuck will not interfere with a tubal ligation and there are techniques that do not use drains.  It is actually rare in our practice to use a drain after a tummy tuck.  We use sutures between the muscle layer and the fat layer to close off the space where the drains are normally placed.  Some surgeons are comfortable with this method and do it that way and some prefer to use drains.  Good luck with your procedure.

Byron D. Poindexter, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Drains and Tummy Tucks

Thank you for your post. Whenever there is a potential space in your body, your body tends to fill that space with serous fluid (the yellow type of fluid that also comes out of a 'weeping wound'. This is similar to when you get a blister: the layers of skin separate and fluid is deposited in to the space. In a tummy tuck, the space is in between the skin/fat layer and the muscle layer. Most surgeons will place a drain to remove this fluid while your body is secreting it until the fat layer grows back together with the muscle layer. At that point, no more fluid is secreted into the area, because there is no more space for fluid. The length of time that this takes varies from patient to patient. Some patients heal much faster, thus the layers seal together much faster. Also, the more twisting motion you have in your belly area, the slower the two layers grow back together because they are moving in relation to each other. The fluid coming through the drain can be initially dark red, and eventually clears to pink then yellow. This is because it takes just a little bit of blood to make the fluid dark red. Also, initially, there can be a large amount of fluid (few hundred cc's in the first day is not out of the range of normal) and this should slow down substantially over next few days. Once the fluid slows down to the amount that your surgeon is comfortable with (usually 25-50 cc in 24 hours) then they will be pulled. There is minimal discomfort in pulling the drain in most patients.
More recently, 'drain free' surgery has become more popular. Fat layer is sutured down to the muscle layer starting at the ribs and progressively down to the lower incision. This makes the space for the fluid to collect much smaller, and in many patients can have surgery without drains. However, I have seen multiple patients come from other surgeons because they developed a seroma despite the suturing of the tissue. This is not the surgeon's fault, but some patients just do not heal fast enough or put out too much fluid for the body to absorb.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

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