How long does it take for drains to come out after a Tummy Tuck?

My questions is after tummy tuck How long does it take for drains to come out? And about showering how long after a tummy tuck u have to wait?

Doctor Answers 20

Abdominoplasty drains

Hello pradomaria85-
Drains generally need to stay in until drainage is less than 30cc or so for a day or two. Every surgeon uses a different guideline and you need to ask your surgeon. You can help hasten getting to this endpoint by minimizing fluid intake and not moving your abdomen, if okay with your doctor. 
To be thorough for all other readers of this explanation, some of us surgeons no longer use drains, because the abdominal tissues can be sutured to the abdominal wall and minimize the need for drains. But drains also work well and they will be out soon!
Good luck.

Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Drains after tummy tuck

I generally remove both drains within a week of surgery once the output has reached an acceptable amount.  This typically corresponds to less than 30cc over a 24-hour period.  While the drains are in place, I have my patients take oral antibiotics to lower the risk of infection and they are instructed on how to cover the drain sites when showering.  They are encouraged to resume showering daily beginning on the day after surgery, gently washing the incisions with soap and water.  I recommend discussing post-operative wound care with your plastic surgeon since recommendations often vary between clinical practices.

Stephanie Power MD, MSc, FRCSC

Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty

Every patient has different output so rather than being based on time its based on how much is coming out.  Typically less than 20 in 24 hour period is good but every PS is different and also dependent on how much drainage you have.  Your PS will likely get them out by 2 weeks.

Drain removal after tummy tuck?

Hello, every surgeon will have different criteria for drain removal.  I don't commonly use drains for tummy tuck surgery but when they are used, I usually remove them once the output is less than 40cc per 24 hours, and never leave them longer than 2 weeks.  I advise my patients not to shower until all drains have been removed for 24 hours.  It is important to obtain this specific advice from your PS since their recommendations may differ.

Drain removal after tummy tuck?

Thank you for your questions.  Typically I tell my patients that their abdominal drains will be removed between 5-14 days after their procedure.  This is dependent on a number of factors - how much (if any) liposuction is performed during the tummy tuck, pre-operative weight, pre-operative fitness, level of activity after procedure, etc.  I will pull one drain when the output is less than 30 cc/1 oz per 24 hours and then the second when that drain output has decreased to less than 30 cc/1 oz per 24 hours for 2 days in a row.  Again this process usually occurs between days 7-10 after the tummy tuck, but the first drain can come out as early as 5 days post-op and the last drain usually is removed by 14 days after.  I allow my patients to shower (with assistance) 2 days after their procedure. - warm (body temperature, NOT HOT) and 3-4 minutes maximum.  The best person to answer your questions more specifically is the surgeon who will be performing your procedure.  Best wishes!

Daniel Brown, MD, FACS
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

When will drains come out after TT

Thank you for your question. Usually drains come out in7-10 days. It usually depending on the output and it varies.

Drains after tummy tuck

I usually take out the first drain within the first week.  The second one comes out usually within 2 weeks.  In certain cases, I will do the surgery without drains.

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

Ow long does it take for drains to come out after a Tummy Tuck?

I remove the drain when the output is less than 25cc in 24 hours and the color is light yellow. I usually take them out one week after surgery but there are occasions where leave them way longer depending on the output and the habitus of the patient. 

Maan Kattash, MD, FRCS, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

How long does it take for drains to come out after a Tummy Tuck?

Dear pradomaria

How long drains stay in varies based on many factors. The general rule of thumb is less than 30cc of fluid drained per 24hrs. If you are thin and no liposuction was performed, you can probably have drains removed in 4-5 days. With larger patients, there is more drainage and when you add liposuction, the amount of drainage significantly increases. In my experienced the average case, drains are removed at 1 week. Patients with massive weight loss often need their drains for longer.

As you can tell from the range of answers there are many ways to get excellent results.

Afshin Parhiscar, MD
Bay Area Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Drains for Abdominoplasty


There is a trend toward not using drains after tummy tucks. Their purpose was supposed to help the skin (and remaining fat under the skin) adhere to the abdominal muscles, and close the space that was created by the tummy tuck.  A vacuum is created by the drain and fluids escape until the space closes and seals itself.  In actual practice, this can takes 3 days to 3 weeks, on average about a week.  Sometimes it never happens, with a significant amount of fluid being produced daily.  The reason fluids are produced are two-fold: movement and bacterial contamination. Essentially, the more you twist and bend, the more the skin will glide across the muscle, effectively preventing the sealing of the two surfaces together. As time goes on, eventually bacteria contaminate the tissues, gaining access from the drain itself. 

Today's modern tummy tuck utilizes special sutures or stitches that both help tighten the skin and fix it to the underlying muscle, known as 'quilting' or 'progressive tension' sutures.  These sutures prevent the need for drains, enhance the tightening effect of the tummy tuck on the skin, especially above the belly button, and virtually eliminate the most common complication after tummy tuck surgery, the seroma. 

This technique is being adopted more and more by plastic surgeons, but many still use drains unfortunately. If you are interested in avoiding them, go on a few consults with surgeons that don't use them.  

Best of luck!

Gerald Minniti, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 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.