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At How Many Cc's Will Drain Be Removed After Tummy Tuck?

At how many cc's will drain be removed after tummy tuck? After drain (s) is removed, where will the fluid go?

Doctor Answers (11)

Drain removal


Every plastic surgeon has their own guideline.   Most recommend removal of a drain once the output of each drain has dropped below 30 cc per 24 hours.   Any remaining fluid will be a small amount and will be absorbed by your body.  Compression therapy is important after drain removal.  Wishing you speedy recovery.

Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 113 reviews

Drains and Tummy Tuck


The answer is usually between 25-30 cc over a 24 hour period.  Every surgeon is different but this is the usual range.

Dr. ES

Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

When to remove drains after tummy tuck


Many surgeons will use drains after tummy tuck. I think it helps to remove unwanted fluid from collecting beneath the skin. Surgeons have different criteria as to when they should be removed. In general most would remove them once the drainage gets below 30-50 cc per day. It also depends on the extent of surgery and whether or not quilting sutures are used, which can reduce the time need for drains.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

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How Long Do Drains Stay In After Tummy Tuck?


Drains are used by many plastic surgeons after tummy tuck surgery. Drain removal will vary from one practice to another; in my practice (generally) I remove a drain when the output is less than 20 mL per drain per day. Again, this will vary from one  physician to another.

When the drains are removed, usually the patients' bodies will absorb the serous fluid in the space between the abdominal wall skin and underlying muscle. Sometimes, this natural resorption and does not occur and physician aspiration of the fluid may become necessary.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 681 reviews





In our practice we remove the drains if it’s draining 50cc in 24 hours. Each practice is different and does things differently. Once the drains are removed the fluid our body makes will be absorb by our body.


Stuart B. Kincaid, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Drain removal after tummy tuck


Although I don't use drains anymore in tummy tucks, most surgeons remove them once there is less than 25 to 30 cc collected in a 24 hr period. However, removing them 4 to 7 days after surgery is common also, unless very large amounts of fluid are coming out. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Ohio Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Drains After Tummy Tuck

Both drains are usually removed within 2 weeks. Occasionally, they need to be left in longer. It really depends on the patient and the surgeon. Your body will naturally process the fluids that are not drained.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

At How Many Cc's Will Drain Be Removed After Tummy Tuck


Each surgeon has a standard, some based on volume, some based on time, so check with your surgeon. My particular standard is 30 cc per day. After the drains are removed, the small residual amount of fluid is absorbed by the body in most cases. In an occasional patient, the residual collects as a seroma, or fluid collection, and that must be addressed by aspiration. 

Thanks for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Drain removal after tummy tuck


Hello! We use suction drains and leave them in for a minimum of 48 hours following the procedure. The removal depends on the extent of the procedure & the fat aspirated. Typically we remove the drains after the output has dropped to 150 cc over 24 hours. The remaining fluid is absorbed by the body.

Wishing you a speedy recovery.

Sameer Karkhanis, MD
India Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

When To Remove Drains After A Tummy Tuck?


It's been my policy for over 20 years to remove my abdominoplasty drains after 72 hours.  I have never had a hematoma and I can count the number of seromas that I have had on one hand.  I believe the drains should stay in for 3 days to allow for oozing and pickup of any serum that leaks into the wound area as well.  I think the key to not getting a problem which requires long term drainage is to be very cautious not to injure the lacy network of lymphatics (the stuff that takes up fluid) off the abdominal muscle covering (sheath). 

I have all my patients wear pressure garments and a large piece of Reston foam directly on the abdomen.  This foam equally distributes the pressure and decreases the chance of any fluid buildup.  Possibly, my lack of fluid and blood post abdominoplasty, and therefore the ability to remove the drains at 72 hours, may come from my tight approximation of abdominal muscles and my tight 30 degree abdominoplasty.  I also use 3x 10mm drains, one right, one left and one vertical. 

As to where the fluid goes, some of it leaks into the raw tissue that has been created when one does the abdominoplasty, and most of it is picked up by the lymphatics on the abdominal muscles which have not been injured.

S. Larry Schlesinger, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 185 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.