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Two Weeks Post OP Tummy Tuck Why Am I Still Draining?

I had a TT 2 weeks ago and I'm having a complication.I still have a drain in! It's draining 50cc in a 24 hr period and it's watery and bloody. Just wondering what you guys think about leaving a drain in that long and why the drainage is still bloody. I have no other problems. I'm just making sure this is not a sign of a larger problem! My PS has never seen something like this before and has never left a drain in longer than 10 day so he's in new territory here! Let me know what you think!

Doctor Answers (7)

Drain 2 weeks after tummy tuck is not uncommon.

+2

Having a drain two weeks after tummy tuck is NOT uncommon. Although a lot of my patients have their drains removed within 1-2 weeks, some others have kept it for 3-4 weeks.  The drain output is dependent on your activity as well as your body.  Some post-bariatric patients tend to make fluid more than thin patients.  I would not worry that your drain has been in the body for two weeks unless you are experiencing pain or bloody output.


Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Drain 2 weeks after tummy tuck not entirely uncommon

+2

Hello,

Hang in there as a drain putting out 50cc/24 hrs at 2 weeks out is not completely uncommon and will likely be ready to come out soon.  I would keep the drain in until it is ready to come out 30cc/24 hrs or less and keep your abdominal binder on very snug and almost around the clock as this will also help.  There are a variety of reasons for the drain still putting out 50cc per 24 hrs at 2 weeks and none are necessarily something that will negatively impact your final result. 

All the best,

Dr Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Tummy tuck drains

+2

Your doctor must be young because this is very common especially if you had lost significant weight or if there was a small hematoma that is now liquifying.  As long as it is draining it should stay in.  I keep my patients on antibiotics while the drain is in place.  I did a TT on one of my nurses, no weight loss history etc, just this summer and her drain was in for 17 days.  Then it came out and she is perfect.  No worries for now...

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

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Drains Still In After 2 Weeks

+1
Both drains are usually removed within 2 weeks, but they could stay in longer if necessary. Therefore it is not unusual for you to have your drains still. It really depends on the patient and the surgeon. 

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Tummy tuck drains - how long does it stay in?

+1

A surgical drain is intended to be a conduit for the inflammatory fluid that forms between tissue planes.  It is not uncommon for this to be more bloody at first and then gradually clear up in consistency although they may remain pink or turn more yellow with time.  If there is a lot of shearing between tissue planes, i.e. the tissues are not sealing as readily, then fluid production may go on longer than usual.  Surgeons tend to have their own guidelines for taking drains out, and I would wait  until the drainage decreases and your surgeon feels that it is safe to take out.  Despite these precautions, a seroma may develop after a drain removal which can be more problematic to address.

Young R. Cho, MD, PhD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
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Still Draining

+1

It's not that unusual and mostly this is a nuisance problem.  Typically the drainage will taper down and the drainage will be bloody for perhaps 24 - 48 hours and then turn pink and then mostly light yellow or slightly pink. In patients who are bigger to begin with or who have a significant amount of liposuction with the tummy tuck there may be more drainage for longer.  Patients who are more active after surgery may have more drainage as well. In any case I would keep in close contact with your plastic surgeon.

Ralph R. Garramone, MD
Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
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Drainage after Tummy Tuck?

+1

Thank you for the question.

Assuming the drain output is gradually decreasing and is not associated with “active bleeding” I do not think you have much to worry about.  at this point, the fluid draining should be turning more yellow in color (serous).  

Over the years, I have had many patients who continue to have significant drainage from drains between 2 to 4 weeks after surgery. None of them have developed a “larger problem”.

I would suggest continued close all up with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 680 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.