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!

Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

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.

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 179 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 19 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 47 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.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 159 reviews

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
4.5 out of 5 stars 8 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 34 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
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Drain Issues after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

Your plastic surgeon is giving you good advice. Do not push the drain back in and do not worry too much about the entire situation with the drains. I do not think you have “screwed up”.

I would also suggest that you use gauze and tape to secure the drains as much as possible,  to avoid its movement and irritation of the skin around it. Unfortunately, some redness/irritation around the drain and the  surrounding skin is quite normal.

I would suggest continued follow-up with your plastic surgeon;  sooner than scheduled if the “hot/cold"  episodes persists.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,501 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.