Drain location for abdominoplasty?

I've seen photos where the plastic surgeon places drains in the mons area, others where it's along the incision, cases where there is only one, sometimes two... Is it surgeon preference? Patient dictated? Is one location better than another for removal post op or for post op pain? Thanks so much for your response!

Doctor Answers 8


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Great question. I think drain placement is mostly based on surgeon preference. Most surgeons want to place the drains in such a way that they are functional, are in relatively comfortable positions, and leave behind inconspicuous scars. For abdominoplasty, I prefer to place the drains laterally below the scars and I usually use two drains. The number of drains is also based on surgeon's preference, but is a surgeon feels a drain is needed, he or she needs enough drains to avoid fluid collections (or seromas) post-operatively. I think patients can weigh in if they have a preference for where they want their drains to be (for example in the mons area or not) and they can make a plan together with their surgeon. I don't think one location has been proven to be better than another for ease of removal post-op or post-op pain. Hope that helps and good luck!

Middletown Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews


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Drain use, placement, and exit wounds for the drains is a matter of surgeon preference. The object is to use drains when one expects drainage and to place as few drains as possible in strategic locations to effectively remove blood and fluid. 

Drains placement

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hello.  The location of drains is usually discussed with the patient beforehand and decided.  For a large abdominoplasty - two drains seem to be a better option to encompass all the areas .  We tend to agree on the mons pubis area on most of our abdominoplasties.  Good luck

Sanjay Lalla, MD, FACS
West Orange Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

Drain positioning

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The location and use of the drain post operatively is a mix of a few things: function, aesthetics (a minimally  visible scar is always key in plastic surgery) surgeon's preference, and the unique characteristics of each patient.The pain is usually not as bad as one might expect because the area is often numb for a few weeks post operatively!As always, bring up your questions to your surgeon during your consultation and make sure the sure that the Doctor you see is Board Certified.

Abdominoplasty drains

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Thanks for your question.
It is generally the surgeons choice of where the drains exit and if there are one or two.  Some surgeons do not use any drains (I still use one exiting from the lower mons).
Best of luck with your search..
Dr T

Douglas Taranow, DO, FACOS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Tummy tuck

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Hello and thank you for your question. There are many options for drain placement with a tummy tuck.  This can be a decision based on surgeon and patient preference. The most important aspect is to find a surgeon you are comfortable with. I recommend that you seek consultation with a qualified board-certified plastic surgeon who can evaluate you in person.

Best wishes and good luck.

Richard G. Reish, M.D.
Harvard-trained plastic surgeon

Richard G. Reish, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Drain Placement

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It's very common for a surgeon to place a drain or drains after a tummy tuck. They assist in removing the excess fluid after surgery. The actual placement of the drain is very surgeon specific, however in my experience the drain works well on the hip, at the end of the incision. Each patient is different but generally speaking, that drain is removed at about 2 weeks after surgery. Most patients don't say that the drain is painful but rather, it's more of a nuisance. If you have a request for where you'd like to have your drain placed it's certainly something worth talking to your surgeon about. Best wished to you.

John Allan Ness, MD
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Drain placement after tummy tuck

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The purpose of the drain (or drains) is to help remove fluid that might accumulate between the skin and fat that were lifted and tightened, and the underlying muscle.  Not all surgeons use drains.  There are a number of ways to try and prevent fluid from accumulating: minimizing the area of dissection so there isn't as much space to collect, leaving some fat on the muscles to encourage things to stick back down, placing quilting sutures or tension sutures to tighten the space, and/or using drains.
If drains are used, the number of drains and the placement of them is typically a decision made by the surgeon.  Often surgeons have a routine way of doing things.  Sometimes the decision is made based on the scar.  Drains are uncomfortable while they are in place and they are uncomfortable to remove.  Usually patients are much happier once the drain is out.  I suspect the discomfort is equivalent regardless of location, although it might be slightly less tender if the drains come out of the incision because there will be some numbness associated with the surgery.
If you have a preference, speak to your surgeon.  You are certainly able to (and encouraged to) ask questions about the surgical plan.  Good luck!

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.