Drainage from JP looks questionable but less than 25cc over 2 consecutive 24 hour periods. Will it be ok to remove it? (photo)

I had a TT 9 days ago; my drainage has been 25cc or less over the last 3 days. I am ready to remove it but now am nervous. The drainage is a dark, rusty, color and there are lots of fatty deposits in the drain and tubing itself, I strip the tubing daily. I am a perioperative RN and I feel confident following my doctor's instructions. I removed my own sutures with no issues but the drainage color is bothering me, it is serosanguinous, thin, non stinky, and chunky. I don't want a seroma.

Doctor Answers 9


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I usually remove abdominoplasty drains when they are consistently under 30 cc/24 hrs.  Best to check with your doctor.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Drain removal

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Good question and clearly you know what you are doing.  Drains are a double edged sword and leaving them in too long also has its own complications.  The volume and the color/consistency of drainage is important when deciding when to remove them.  I would follow your surgeons instructions and judging from what I have read in your descriptions of the drainage, I think it would be safe to remove.  Good luck with your recovery!

Saira Saini, MD
Fayetteville Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Tummy tuck When to remove the JP?

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In my own practice I like to see the JP out when it is lighter in color and less than 30 CC over a 24 hour period. The color of your JP generally means there is some old blood that is still liquefying.  When I have drainage that is still dark I usually leave the drain in a bit longer until the drainage clears up  of there is really minimal output.

Fatty deposits in the drain are not uncommon particularly if you had liposuction with your TT.

Send the photo and call your PS so you can be properly guided.

Best wishes.

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Tummy tuck drain removal

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Thank you for the question and photos.  Following your plastic surgeons instructions will ultimately be the best advice.  With that said, there is no harm in leaving the drain in a day or two longer.  This is especially the case if you feel like that 25ml is an estimate and 30ml or more may also be possible.  After the drain removal, it is often ideal, to keep the binder on snug and low and to maintain the activity restrictions until you can be sure that you have not developed a seroma.

All the best,

Dr. Remus Repta

Remus Repta, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews


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The single best response is to contact your plastic surgeon directly and ask them. Everyone pulls drains at different times and only your plastic surgeon can tell you when they are comfortable. Good luck.

Asaf Yalif, MD
Roswell Plastic Surgeon

Jp drainage after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question. In my practice I usually remove a jp drain after abdominoplasty when the drainage is less than 30 cc over a few consecutive days.However , It is best to follow your plastic surgeons instructions .

Joanne Lopes, MD
Virginia Beach Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Drainage in JP after tummy tuck.

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Congrats on your procedure. It's common for the fluid to look dark. It can be simply the breakdown of old blood in the surgical site contributing to the darker color. Not all fluid appears "straw" colored as we often see. The "fat" deposits are often fibrinous exudate and it can clump in the drain and receptacle. Stripping the drain prevents clogging. At 9 days and less than 25 cc/24 hr it's probably ready to be removed. It's a balance of possible seroma collection (easily treated with aspiration) vs drain site infection. In my practice I remove the drain. 

Gary Vela, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon

Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty/Liposuction/Vaser High Definition Procedures/Tummy Tuck Revision

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I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss this question with your surgeon as every surgeon has their own respective post op protocol for his/her patients.  Your surgeon is your best resource as he/she is most familiar with your medical history and how you are healing at this time.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Follow your doctors instructions

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Best plan of action is to follow your doctors instructions.   Every doctor has their own version of drai  management.   This goes from using no drain to just a few days to 6 weeks.   I favor a very short period of the drain and have never regretted it.  My Best,  Dr Commons

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.