Drain Tubes Are Slipping and Hurt at Point of Entry, Is This Normal?

I am now two weeks post op after Tummy Tuck and Breast Implants. My drain tubes for tummy tuck have slipped out slightly and one hurts and is slightly inflammed at point of entry. Is this normal? The fluid is the expected color with no odor but I was pushing them back in until today when I was told not to do that. I am worried I might have really screwed up. No fever but I was having Hot/Cold spurts last night. Any suggestions. My doc says not to worry, but he is two hours away and I am worried!

Doctor Answers 12

Drains following tummy tuck

The drains after having a tummy tuck performed can certainly be irritating.  The skin point of entry frequently appears a bit red when they have remained in place for a week or more.  Over time, the drains can also get a bit loose.  I agree with the advice you were given.  I don't like patients to manipulate the drains because forcing them back into the abdomen can potentially expose that healing space to new bacteria from the drain that had escaped your body a bit.  But, rest assured, drain site infections are pretty uncommon.  It is reassuring that the fluid remains normal appearing and does not smell foul.  Pus usually looks more thick, cloudy, and can smell bad.  Let your surgeon know if you have fever above 101 or if your symptoms worsen or the drainage changes.  I really prefer to have the drains out before 2 weeks but I know that some drains remain too high of output for the surgeon to be comfortable pulling them and that may be the case for you.  Sometimes there are substances we can inject through the drain to help diminish drains that continue to persist with higher output.  Please call or see your surgeon if you remain worried.  Good luck!

Drains After Tummy Tuck

Please talk to your surgeon as soon as you can about the fact that they aren't staying put and that you've pushed one back in.

Drains slipping out after tummy tuck

That's right. Don't push the drains back in as this can introduce bacteria into your incision. See your plastic surgeon when his office opens to see if the drains need to be removed.  Yes, it is normal for the drains to be uncomfortable at times but if the pain and redness are increasing you need to be seen sooner rather that later.  If you get fever and chills/sweats, go to your closest emergency room.  Also, if you think you are getting sick, you can call your plastic surgeon's answering service to be connected to the doctor on call.  I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 144 reviews

Drain concerns after tummy tuck

I agree with your doctor that you should not push the drains back in.  That is a potential entry site for bacteria and pushing them back in may introduce that bacteria into your body.  At two weeks, the drains may be ready to be removed.  Some redness around the drain site is normal.  The hot/cold symptoms you are describing may or may not be related to your surgery.  If symptoms persist or new ones develop, contact your surgeon's office.

Mennen T. Gallas, MD
Katy Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Pain at drain site

Usually the drains can be removed at 2 weeks post op.  Having your doctory take them out should fix the problem.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Drain pain after Tummy Tuck

Hi there-

What you are describing sounds within the normal experience of the majority of patients- except for the hot/cold thing... if this worsens and you begin to have a fever, you need to communicate this to your surgeon asap.

Otherwise the only other thing to say is that I agree pushing the drain back into your body is not a good idea.

When in doubt, call your surgeon's office.

Sounds very normal and common

The drains are definately one of the more annoying parts of having and recovering from a tummy tuck.  Sometimes the stitch at the skin gets loose and can cause irritation.  That is the redness at the entry point you see.  Do not push the drain back in, hopefully the drain should be coming out soon since you are two weeks post surgery.

Kari L. Colen, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Drainage tubes and tummy tuck

What you are experiencing is normal. What you need to look out for is increasing redness and foul smelling drainage and fever. If any of these occur call your Dr.

John P. Stratis, MD
Harrisburg Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 31 reviews

Tummy Tuck Drains

Unfortunately drains can become irritating after a while.  You should not push the drains back in so that any potential bacteria on the outside of the drain is not pushed beneath the skin.  You are two weeks out so it may be reasonable to have the drains removed if they are not producing a lot of fluid per day.  Speak with your PS concerning that issue.

Dr. ES

Tummy tuck drains

I would not push the drains back in, but I think limiting your activity and also putting some tape over the site to keep it from slipping out is a good idea until you can see your surgeon.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 21 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.