Why Are Drains Used in Breast Augmentation?

Hi, I would like to know why some surgeons use drains in breast augmentation while others don´t. Can they cause an infection? Is it better to use them or not? Thank you

Doctor Answers 21

Drains and breast augmentation

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For augmentation using smooth implants most surgeons do not use drains. However for augmentations where a textured surface implant will be used a drain will limit fluid around the implant and promote the ingrowth of the capsule into the textured surface of the implant. If there is fluid around the capsule the incorporation of the implant into the surrounding capsule will likely not occur and the implant will behave similar to a smooth walled implant. In this case, one would not gain the benefits of the textured surface which include decreasing the capsular contracture rate and preventing rotation of the implant (important if a shaped implant is used).


Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon

Drains are not routine in breast augmentation

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Drains are placed into surgical sites where there is potential for fluid buildup. I do  not use them routinely for breast augmentation but there are some instances where it might be considered. One is when textured, shaped implants such as the 'gummy bears" are used, because the body needs to "stick" to the textured implant surface to prevent it from rotating. Fluid buildup could interfere with that. Another is if there is concern about bleeding. Revision surgeries often involve more dissecting, and I always use drains with Alloderm or Strattice. However, some surgeons do use them on all augmentations.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Use of Drains

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There are specific reasons for the use of drains, and the surgeon should best be able to determine the need. I do NOT use drains in breast augmentation, nor do any of my partners. Drains do increase the risk of infection and so should be used only if there is a real need.

William H. Gorman, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Drains uncommon in breast augmentation

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I do not routinely use drains. In theory, if the breast augmentation is done correctly, there should not be any fluid. One exception may be with textured implants, where it is critical there is adherence between soft tissues and the textured surface.

Louis P. Bucky, MD
Philadelphia Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Drains and breast augmentation surgery

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The usage of surgical drains after breast augmentation surgery is highly surgeon specific. Drains are generally placed when the surgeon determines or feels as if there might be fluid collecting around the implant after surgery. Certain breast surgical procedures may have a higher incidence of requiring drain placement, such as revision breast augmentation. the majority of patients undergoing primary (for the first time) breast augmentation at Gayoso Plastic Surgery do not require the use of post operative drains.

Antonio Gayoso, MD
Saint Petersburg Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Why Are Drains Used in Breast Augmentation?

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The majority of boarded PSs DO NOT use drains in primary breast augmentation. If a surgeon uses them on a regular basis than that is his/her personal technique. 

I do not use drains on a routine augmentation

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I do not use drains on a routine augmentation.  If I have perfromed a complicated mastopexy/augmentation I might use a drain.

Drains after Breast Augmentation

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Most plastic surgeons do NOT use drains after a standard breast augmentation as there is no evidence that they offer any benefit. If you surgeon plans on using them, ask why.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

DRains in Breast Augmentation

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I have many friends who are excellent plastic surgeons and use drains for breast augmentation. However, I have never used them for a routine enlargement and see no benefit in their use in my hands. I think you should find a surgeon who you like and trust and let him make the decisions based on his preferences and experience.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Drains & Breast Implants

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I personally do not use drains in breast augmentations.  I try to make certain that there is no significant bleeding when I close the wounds and most surgeons do not feel that drains prevent hematomas.  I do, on the other hand, routinely use drains in reductions and tummy tucks for other reasons.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon

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.