When you get a tummy tuck...do PS prefer drains or no drains and why?

Doctor Answers 11

When you get a tummy tuck...do PS prefer drains or no drains and why?

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While some plastic surgeons do not use drains following an TT, I feel that using drains minimizes fluid buildup and keeps the abdominal skin more adherent to the abs. It;s a fairly simple addition to the procedure and is well worth it.

When you get a tummy tuck...do PS prefer drains or no drains and why?

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The preference for drains should not be an element for inclusion or exclusion in your surgeon search.  The operation should be tailored to your specifications and anatomy to produce a dramatic result. Seek out a plastic surgeon who has performed these procedures hundreds of times and has a great number of reviews and before and after pictures.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Beverly Hills, CA

TT and drains

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It's  frequently the PS choice, and  may depend on your particular situation. My  guess is that most PS use drains in the full TT. If a serum develops, with or without a drain there s a delay in the healing process and requires aspiration until it is no longer  present.  I use drains in almost all cases

Drains usually best with tummy tuck

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The drainless tummy tuck uses a technique called progressive tension sutures that minimize fluid buildup. I think that most of the time a drain is better even with the PTS method, but it can be removed early.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Drains or no drains

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Using drains during abdominoplasty is not something to necessarily be afraid of, in fact, in my opinion, many 'brainless' abdominoplasties have had problems and poor results. A thorough discussion with your plastic surgeon will help you to understand the quality of their surgery and results and whether or not they think drains would be of benefit. And, by the way, drains do not have to be 'in place' very long at all. I have done both procedures of course.

Leland Deane, MD, FACS
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

When you get a tummy tuck...do PS prefer drains or no drains and why?

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I'm not sure you'll ever get a consensus amongst plastic surgeons on anything, but I personally prefer drainless in patients who are eligible because the healing process is much quicker and less painful. In my opinion the only reason someone wouldn't offer drainless is because they don't know the technique. Hope that helps! 

Mathew A. Plant, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Drains or no drains for tummy tuck... why yes or no

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Thanks for sharing your question. I can appreciate your concern.

My preference is to leave drains. the reason is that the trauma will generate fluid despite the technique that is used. this fluid when it accumulates, will prevent the tissues from healing back together. 


Finally, make sure that you have a consultation with a board certified plastic surgeon.

Wishing you the best in your journey

Drains help after tummy tuck, but not always used

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I have attached a link that might be helpful...

Hi brileke96. The drains' purpose is to remove excess fluid that accumulates after a tuck, and it is a good indicator of what is happening inside. If fluid gets trapped underneath, it can cause fullness, get infected, get fibrotic and firm, etc. - in the absence of functioning drains, the fluid is removed with a needle & syringe several times a week until it stops re accumulating. The use of progressive tension sutures is effective in reducing fluid accumulation, thereby permitting faster drain removal, or even not placing drains, depending upon surgeon preference. The sutures have been very effective for my patients. Be sure to consult with an ABPS certified plastic surgeon and see their results and inquire about their complications. Remember, if drains for a short while after surgery lets you heal faster without complications, then they are worth the temporary hassle. Good luck,

When you get a tummy tuck...do PS prefer drains or no drains and why?

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Thank you for the question. It is very common to receive different opinions from different plastic surgeons about the best way to treat a specific “problem”. Each plastic surgeon may have his/her opinion that is based on their specific/unique education, experience, and personal preferences. 
 The use of drains for tummy tuck surgery will vary from one practice to another;  there is no "correct" answer. In my practice, I currently use drains for all tummy tuck patients; I ALSO use progressive tension sutures for most patients.
I hope this, and the attached link (dedicated to tummy tuck surgery concerns), helps.

Drains or No Drains

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It really depends on the patient. The purpose of applying #drains to a tummy tuck is to release extra fluid that may otherwise accumulate under the skin, fat or muscle following surgery. Patients generally find this annoying and uncomfortable and they can impede mobility and therefore slow aspects of #healing. Over the years, surgeons have improved procedures and found ways to eliminate the need for these #drains in a variety of operations; including #tummy #tuck or #abdominoplasty.

I have found that most of my patients do very well with the exception of those have large areas of liposuction or lipo-abdominoplasty.  I may use drains on a case by case basis for these patients. Also, a newer option now can include the use of tissue #glue to adhere the abdominal #skin to the #muscle; eliminating any space that previously required a drain.

If you go to a plastic #surgeon who uses drains, or if your situation requires drains, they usually stay in 3-5 days but may be required to remain in longer. The most important decision to be made before performing any surgical procedure is determining whether you are an ideal #candidate. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will recommend the type best suited for you during a one-on-one in-person consultation. Also, another element to a satisfying result of your procedures are realistic #expectations.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 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.