Drainage tubes following donut lift and augmentation on slightly constricted breasts; is this normal?

I am currently 2 days post op following a donut lift and 480 cc silicone implants under the muscle. My Dr decided I would benefit from drainage tubes. My concern is the output. Yesterday my total output on the right breast was 95 ml and the left 65 ml. He did say he had to do a lot of reshaping on the right as it was more constricted. Is this a normal amount to see? It resembles very watery blood. At what point should I be calling to make sure this is ok?

Doctor Answers 6

Drains After Breast Lift/Augmentation - Is This Normal?

Congratulations on picking an obviously technically intelligent plastic surgeon.  Breast lifts and breast augmentations both injure tissue as well as blood vessels.  The fluid produced from these injuries, if not drained out of a breast, can lead to distortions, calcifications, and even hard breasts (breast implant capsular contractures).
The number of days a plastic surgeon leaves drains in after a lift/augmentation depends on the specific surgery, specific patient, and the protocol of each individual plastic surgeon.  I highly recommend you call your personal plastic surgeon and ask him or her about the timing for drain removal.  
With reference to the volume of drainage, the volume that you report is not of any great concern to me personally, but it is always appropriate to broach this question with the person who did your surgery.  I personally place drains in 100% of my breast lifts and augmentations because I believe that the quickest way to get a capsular contracture is to have blood around an implant.  Dr. Robert Flowers, formerly from Honolulu, Hawaii, proved during the '60's and '70's that blood around the pocket of an implant would cause almost immediate capsular contracture.  Therefore, the more blood you drain away from a breast implant, the less chance you have of getting a hard breast. 

Drainage with breast augmentation

there are almost as many ways of doing a procedure as there are plastic surgeon. Some surgeons do not ever drain. Some surgeons always place trades. Other surgeons place them depending on the circumstance.  In your case the surgeon obviously decided to use drains because of the amount of work that was done. The body is 80% water. After any traumatic event like surgery  there is leakage which is mostly water. This is tinged with blood so it makes it appear to be bloody drainage. This drainage stops by itself over the period of several days.  The amount of drainage that you describe does not seem excessive. However if you have concerns at all you should call your plastic surgeon.  The more worrisome things to be concerned about are increased swelling and bruising which may be the signs of a blood collection i.e. a hematoma. 

Andrew Kaczynski, MD (retired)
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Normal is what your surgeon chooses to do

based on his/her wisdom and experience over his/her career.  You will find surgeons that never use drains and those that always do.  Your surgeon felt it was needed and if you can avoid any complications with drains, then its all good.  If you have shaped implants, then drains would be routine in my practice.  Focus on healing and find out from your surgeon when the drains can be removed so you can get them out asap.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Drainage tubes following donut lift and augmentation on slightly constricted breasts; is this normal?

Congratulations on having undergone the  breast augmentation/lifting procedure. You will find that there are very few "normals" in the field of plastic surgery;  every plastic surgeon will have a different practice when it comes to the use of drains  and timing for removal. etc. Given that you are concerned enough to pose your question here, I would suggest that you let your plastic surgeon know of your concerns also. Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

Drainage tubes following donut lift and augmentation on slightly constricted breasts; is this normal?

Thank you for your question. I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon. Every surgeon has their own specific post op protocol for their patients and your surgeon is the best resource when questions arise. They are most familiar with your medical history, details of your surgery, and how you are healing. After certain breast procedures, it is common to use drains.  Congratulations on your recent surgery.

Austin Hayes, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Talk to your doctor

The fluid that is draining would otherwise be building up inside your tissues.  Your doctor felt it would be safer to drain the fluid externally.Keep in contact with your doctor regarding drainage and when the drains will be removed.

Keith Denkler, MD
Marin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.