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How Long Should I Expect to Have Surgical Drains After Mommy Makeover Surgery?

I am having breast augmentation, a tummy tuck, and liposuction.

Doctor Answers (26)

Drains after surgery

I typically do not use drains. However, when I do, they are usually in for one to two weeks depending on the drain output after surgery. Hope this helps.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Drains after mommy makeover


I tell my abdominoplasty patients to expect to have their drains in place for at least a week.  Typically the decision to remove drains is not dogmatic and based on an arbitrary time schedule, rather it is based upon how much fluid is draining out of them.  Classically we like to see 30 cc or less per drain per 24 hours before removal.  Sometimes liposuction with tummy tuck can increase the drainage and hence the time that the drains will stay in place.

Joseph L. Grzeskiewicz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

I don't usually use any drains following a mommy make over surgery.


I have never used drains following breast surgery but over the past two years I have stopped using drains following abdominal surgery also.  I believe the patients are much happier now not having to deal with emptying them and carrying them around.  I believe my seroma rates have been lower now that I have stopped using drains.

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

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Drains Are Used Following a Tummy Tuck & are Usually Left in Place for 7-14 Days Following Surgery


Drains are frequently used in the post-operative period in mommy makeover patients to minimize the potential for seroma formation. Drains are typically not used with breast surgery, but are used after abdominoplasty. Drains are usually left in place for 7 to 14 days following surgery. They are usually removed when drainage drops below 25cc per 24 hours.
The management of surgical drainage varies from patient to patient. Each patient has unique surgical anatomy and surgical procedures are modified for each individual patient for these reasons. In addition each surgeon has his own drain protocols.
In some patients, drainage may persist for longer periods of time, especially if patients are physically active. Patients are usually eager to get their drains removed and sometimes pressure their surgeon to remove them. When drains are removed to early, there may be an increased complication rate. This might result in seroma formations with resultant infection and wound breakdown. Under these circumstances seromas may require multiple aspirations or replacement of the drain. Although drains seem to be a major nuisance, they serve as a very important function in most mommy makeover patients.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 73 reviews



I do not use drains for breast lifts or breast augmentation. I use drains for the tummy tucks. They usually stay for about 3-7 days.

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mommy Makeover Drains from the Tummy Tuck Removed Usually by Day 3


Thank you for your question. Drains are rarely used in the Breast after Breast Augmnetation or Breast Lift.

Typically drains are used after the Tummy Tuck Portion of the Mommy Makeover. Most plastic Surgeons leave drains in until less than 25 cc (less than an ounce) of fluid comes out of each drain in a 24 hour period.

In some people this is one day and others can take longer if there is a lot of fluid coming out. An average is about 3 days.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Drains and TT / MM


We take the drains out when they stop making large amounts of fluid.  Typically, it takes 7-10 days for this to happen, and the drainage to decrease to 25-30 cc each per 24 hour time period.  People who have lipo at the same time tend to make more fluid for longer.


All the best!

Thomas Fiala, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

How Long Should I Expect to Have Surgical Drains After Mommy Makeover Surgery?


When the drains can be removed varies greatly. It is based on how much fluid is produced by the individual during the healing process. It can be as variable as between 3-14 days. Overdoing it after surgery can cause more fluid to form and then having to leave the drains in longer.  

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Drains after a tummy tuck


Drains stay in until they are draining minimally so the risk of seroma is as low as possible.  I ask that the daily output be under 25 cc and this usually takes 7-10 days to get there.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Mommy makeover - surgical drains


Great question.  Surgical drains help to prevent the accumulation of fluid within the abdominal tissues.  They involve small bulbs that provide constant suction to allow the evacuation of fluid.  When the amount decreases to a beneath a certain threshold, then you can remove the drains.  Most drains stay in for 1 week, but it is not uncommon to keep them in longer if there is still quite a bit of fluid accumulation.  The risk of taking drains out prematurely is that you can develop a seroma which may require drainage or aspiration if it gets to big.  The best way to treat a seroma is prevention.  Hope this helps answer your question.  Good luck.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 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.