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 22

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
4.7 out of 5 stars 27 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.

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 399 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 (retired)
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
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

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 24 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

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
4.9 out of 5 stars 45 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.

No Drain Tube TT

Drains vs No Drain Tube Tummy Tuck
Plastic surgeon performing tummy tucks for more than half a century years have used drains. Recently a technique has been slowly becoming more popular using Progressive Tension Sutures (quilting stitches) to attach the superficial skin/fat to the deep muscle layer below to prevent fluid accumulation that a drain would otherwise remove. It is not fool proof (nothing is), takes a bit more time under anesthesia to place these stitches and a girdle is generally worn immediately but a drain-less Tummy Tuck seems to work well. Patients tend to like this as there is no drain care and they can shower earlier. There may be slightly more swelling, more of a chance for seroma in some but in the long run (after 1-2 months)no difference in the swelling of those with and those without drains. On the other hand use of drains in my experience is a quicker operative time, early on prevents seroma and minimizes bruising, easy and painless to remove postoperatively, no need to wear the elastic garment/girdle until the drains come out in my practice.
For those patients who choose another surgeon, the question to drain or not to drain is at the surgeon's discretion. There is no consensus at this point though most surgeons still favor drains until the output is generally about 30cc/24 hours. I individualize and if little or no liposuction at the time of a tummy tuck, a minimal or mini-tummy tuck I often do not use drains, whereas for significant liposuction with a tummy tuck and other procedures (#MommyMakeover) I most often use drains but individualize as needed.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 125 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.