Drain Site Tenderness - Is This Normal?

1 1/2 weeks out from tummy tuck and liposuction. I have had one drain removed and never really had any problems with it. However, the one that is left is very tender and red. It is hurting worse than that the tumy tuck and the lipo at this point. Every time I get up it pinches and makes it worse. I have called my doctor's office and they have said that the redness is normal due to it being an irritated area but should it be this painful?

Doctor Answers 6

Drain Tenderness

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It is common to have tenderness and irritation from the drains before they are removed.  Normally most irritation is gone once the drains are removed, however, it is possible for the area to be a little red and itchy as you are healing.  If you notice the redness spreading or if you notice any fever develop, inform your surgeon.

Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Drain Site Tenderness - Is This Normal?

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From your description of "pain" + " redness"  , I would see you and teach you wound care cleansing. Also I would start you on a course of PO antibiotics. Just to be safe. From MIAMI 

Tummy tuck drain

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Some mild redness/tenderness is to be expected around the drain tube. However, you should pay close attention to the area and if you notice spreading redness, increasing tenderness/pain or any fevers and chills then immediate follow-up with your surgeon is indicated.

Best wishes.

A Mild Inflammatory Response Is Normal For A Tummy Tuck Drain

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A drain coming though your skin is an abnormal presence that the body will tolerate for a limited period of time. Drains that are removed within a week or so after surgery never really get very red or sore as the body has not mounted a significant inflammatory response to it yet. But drains that stay in for 10 days or longer will get very red and sore, not only due to the foreign body coming through the skin but also because it has some regular motion around the exit site as it gets tugged and pulled. This is particularly true in the low position that tummy tuck drains have to be placed.  By this time the body has created a more significant inflammatory response which is why it is so sore at this point. Removal of the drain is the cure.

: Drain Site Tenderness After Tummy Tuck

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Drain site tenderness is  not  uncommon especially with pulling and tugging.

The fact that there is redness in that area would require your surgeon to take a look at it and ascertain that there is no infection.

Erel Laufer, MD
Dunedin Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Drain Site Tenderness After Tummy Tuck

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It is not unusual to develop redness and some tenderness around the drains placed at the time of your tummy tuck.  These drains, as in your case, often stay in for several days.  If you have no redness elsewhere (in incision,etc.) and have no purulent drainage around the drain site, it is most likely nothing about which to be concerned.

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.