Too Much Drainage?

Dear Doctors, I'm on Day 8 post op on a tummy tuck with lipo on flanks, lower back, inner and outer thights. I'm a bit worry that my out put seems to be way too much!! In 24 hours on a typical day, I could put out around 240cc ! I only have two drains in but one of them fell off completely on day 4 so now I only have one drain to do the job for both?! Is it normal for that much out put for one drain in 24 hours period? Thanks!

Doctor Answers 9

Compression Garment and Drain Function after Tummy Tuck and Lipo

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    I always recommend that patients wear the compression garments as instructed and keep the drains functional by stripping them every 2 hours or so.  240 cc from the drains in one day is not particularly concerning at one week unless the drains are particularly bloody.

Tummy Tuck Drains

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After a tummy tuck drains are placed to help remove the fluid the body produces during the recovery process.  This helps prevent fluid collections down the road that can cause infections.  Many surgeons will place two drains. When one of the drains falls out or is removed, the output on the other one may go up. Since your first one is out, the remaining drain is doing the work of two drains.  That is part of the reason the output is so high.  It definitely can take a while for this output to come down.  The key things are not to remove it before the output comes down and to keep accurate records of how much the output is every day.  You should soon start to see that the output is decreasing as you are healing.  If it is not coming down, your surgeon will want to see you because there are some tricks that can speed up the process.  Good luck.

High Drain Output after Tummy Tuck?

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The drain output quantity that you describe is certainly above average.  However, assuming the "qualityā€¯ of the drain output remains serous (like serum),  then there is probably not much to do at this point,  except to protect the current drain that remains in place.  Do not allow it to be dislodged.

 Hopefully, you will notice that the drain output will decrease every few days allowing for its eventual removal,  without further concerns. In my practice, there are rare cases where I have had to leave drains in for 3 to 4 weeks postoperatively.

 Of course, your plastic surgeon will be in the best position to advise you more precisely.

 Best wishes.

High output from JP drains

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Thanks for your question.  In my experience that is quite a bit of drainage this far out of surgery, are you seeing your surgeon regularly? If not, get in immediately. Please protect that drain so that it does not accidently get pulled out. 

Excessive drainage following an abdominoplasty

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Some patients do make excessive drainage and need the drains to be left in for several weeks.  Once the drainage slows down to less than 30 cc per day it will be time to remove the drain.   If you current drain falls out or becomes blocked it is possible that a new drain will need to be inserted.  Follow your surgeons advice during this healing period.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews


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Your surgeon was smart to put in extra drains and to keep them in. You may have needed more surgery, had more surgery than most and taking longer to heal

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Drainagea after liposuction

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That is a little more drainage than usual but it is common to see some increased drainage after liposuction. The amount of drainage can vary widely and has been decreased significantly with the relatively new technique of "Progressive tension sutures". I would keep close follow up with your surgeon.

John Squires, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Too Much Drainage?

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That is a bit more than average, but have of patients put out more than average. So long as you are not developing areas of swelling from undrained fluid, it seems that your one drain is doing what it is supposed to do. 

Follow up with your surgeon.

Thanks, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Is this too much drainage from a TT and Liposuction?

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The amount of drainage may be higher as you had liposuction of your flanks done at the same time and the fluid this produces may be draining out the TT drains.  If one drain has decreased to a low amount, the other drain may be doing the work of 2 and so may be higher.  As long as you are not noticing any areas which are getting progressively more swollen, the drain(s) seem to be doing their job.  Follow your doctors orders, keep your abdominal binder on and be patient and the drainage likely will gradually decrease.

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.