I Just Had a Tummy tuck 1wk Ago I Thought the Doctor Was Going to Take out the Drain I Have Wait 1more Wk is This Safe?

Doctor Answers 10

Drains and Tummy tuck

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I usually remove the drains when there is minimal fluid draining.  I commonly remove after 2 days, however have had some in for 1-2 weeks as they have large outputs.  I also remove them early if there is any sign of infection.  Be reassured that it is best to leave then in as long as is required until there is minimal output.


Stephen Salerno

Melbourne Plastic Surgeon

Tummy tuck drains

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I agree with the others, drains are typically removed when the drainage fall below a certain volume.  This is independent of the time since your surgery.  You can get in more trouble pulling the drains to soon. 

Good luck on your recovery

John Paletta, MD
Savannah Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Timing of drain removal after tummy tuck surgery

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Drains are used to remove fluid that can accumulate underneath the skin after surgery. For tummy tuck surgery, I will typically remove the drains once the output has reached 30 mL or less over a 24-hour period. If the drain output is too high, the concern is that the body will not reabsorb the fluid and it will start to accumulate. Most often drains after tummy tuck surgery are removed by one week, however if the output is too high it safest to leave the drains for longer. The risk of infection with the drain in place for a longer period of time is often lower than the risk of developing a problematic seroma. I hope this helps and good luck.

Jason E. Leedy, MD
Cleveland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 148 reviews

How long is it safe to leave in a drain?

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Dear JC,

Thank you for your post.  Yes, this is perfectly safe.  Your surgeon is waiting for the drain output to decrease enough to pull out the drain.  If he pulls it too soon, then you may have a fluid collection that he needs to then stick a needle in and drain every few days.  The drain can be left in for many weeks safely.

Best wishes,

Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Drain removal

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Drain removal is often determined by the output collected, and will vary patient to patient.  As long as the presence of the drains is not causing other issues and the drain sites appear healthy, the drains can safely remain in place for two weeks or longer.

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon

Each Patient is Different; Tummy Tuck Drain

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Congratulations on having a TT.  I feel your surgeon has a reason for leaving the drain in...each patient is different.  I like to leave the drain in 5- to 10 days depending on the amount of fluid still draining.  Good LUCK.

Tummy tuck 1wk Ago--drain

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Safest is to leave the drain in place until it is no longer needed--the threshold will vary from surgeon to surgeon, but is usually 30 cc/day. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Drains after Tummy Tuck Surgery?

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Congratulations on having undergone the tummy tuck procedure. Yes, it is safe to leave the drains in for longer than one week.

 Best wishes.

Tummy Tuck one week ago. When does Doctor take out drain?

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Thank you for your question.  Drains are typically removed when there is less than 30cc in the drain for 24 hours.  In most cases, the first drain comes out by day 7 and the second drain by day 14.  Note that the drainage may increase after the first couple of days and the patient moves about more.  Each Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is different.  Please communicate with your Plastic Surgeon your concerns.  Together, you will make a plan.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Removal of tummy tuck drains is individualized.

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  • In our practice, tummy tuck drains are removed when drainage is substantially reduced. 
  • If the drain sites are inflamed, the drain tubes may be removed earlier. There is no absolute time to remove your drains; this is determined by your surgeon's judgement.
  • You should discuss your concerns about your drain removals with your surgeon.

Best Regards,

Douglas J. Raskin, MD
Colorado Springs Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 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.