Is a Tummy Tuck safe without the use of drainage pumps?

Doctor Answers 6

Is TT safe without drains?

When the skin is separated from the abdominal wall during the tummy tuck, it leaves a raw surface that can ooze blood and fluid until it sticks back down to the muscle. That blood and fluid could accumulate and cause what's called a seroma (a collection of fluid under the skin). For that reason, many surgeons use drains so that the fluid drains out, rather than accumulating under the skin.

However, there are newer techniques that allow us to avoid drains in many tummy tucks. Some surgeons use "quilting sutures" or "progressive tension sutures" to stick the skin back down to the abdominal wall. This works very well to prevent fluid buildup, take tension off the incision, and reduce swelling. Some surgeons will use quilting sutures, but also place a drain for a short time. All of the above options are acceptable, drains or no drains, and will depend upon your surgeon's experience and preferences.
I hope that helps.
Best wishes-

Banff Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Brainless tummy Tucks

The answer is yes, as long as your surgeon does additional manoeuvres to take this into account, such as placement of deep (internal) stitches to close off the space. Regards, Dr Steve Merten, Sydney, Australia

Steve Merten, FRACS
Sydney Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews

Is a Tummy Tuck safe without the use of drainage pumps?

Some good doctors feel drains are a good idea, other equally good surgeons do not. Pick your surgeon for his/her results and let the surgeon decide how to do the surgery. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews


Drains are frequently used but can be avoided by using other methods to reduce seroma formation. 
I've used Progressive Tension Sutures, as well as Tisseal glue to help stop fluid build up without use of drains. There are risks and benefits to each method so you need to discuss this with your local surgeon. 

Arko Demianczuk, MD
Vancouver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Tummy Tucks and Drains

All doctors have personal preferences.  The majority of plastic surgeons use drains after a tummy tuck but there is new literature which suggests methods for tacking down the skin so that a drain is not necessary.  The reason for using a drain is to reduce the possibility of forming a seroma or fluid pocket under your skin by keeping the space between your skin and your abdomen on suction.  By adding tacking sutures, the surgeon sews this space together.  It really is a surgeon's preference.  Speak to your surgeon about her/his preference and why she/he has made that choice.  Good luck!

Melissa Doft, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Tummy tuck is safe without drains

Lots of doctors use drains.  Lots don't.  There are pros and cons to every decision we make in plastic surgery.  Drains are no exception.  If your surgeon does not use drains, feel free to ask them about the risks of not using them.  Essentially it is the risk of a serum...fluid collection.  There are several things that I do to minimize that a drain is only one option.  Often I put a single drain for a couple of days, but not always.

Dr Rodger Shortt
Oakville Plastic Surgeon
Assistant Clinical Professor &
Director of Cosmetic Surgery Training,
McMaster University

Rodger Shortt, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 67 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.