Why is it some plastic surgeons are doing drainless? And is this true?

I had a consultation today and the Certified Plastic Surgery said, " If a PS is not using drain less to do a Tummy Tuck they are NOT doing it correctly". But I see doctor on here that are preforming them. Why is it some PS are doing drain less? and is this true?

Doctor Answers 6

"Drainless" Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your post. It's disappointing for us to hear comments like that coming from other plastic surgery practices with Board-certified (by the American Board of Plastic Surgery) surgeons. We are all aware of the techniques used by which some surgeons avoid the use of drain tubes during TT surgery. However, if you do develop a collection of fluid (a seroma), you will wish you had a drain in to help evacuate it. A seroma can distort the final appearance, and can be uncomfortable. Plus, it can lead to infection if a bacteria finds it's way to that site. The use of drains for TT surgery is still the most common way of doing the procedure at this point. The drains are a nuisance, for sure, but they are temporary. I would not let that affect your decision, and choose the surgeon that you feel the most connection to during your consultation. Best wishes.


Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Drains

Thank you for your question about Tummy Tuck.

Drainless Tummy Tuck is being marketed as the next greatest thing in plastic surgery. It is simply not true.  Yes, in some situations, drains can be avoided; however, there are times when drains are necessary.

To be sure what is right for you, see two or more experienced, board-certified Plastic Surgeons in your area for a complete evaluation to make sure you are a good candidate and that it is safe for you to have surgery.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 150 reviews

Why is it some plastic surgeons are doing drainless? And is this true?

I have been doing No Drain Tummy Tucks for over 10 years with great results but it is not fair to say that using drains wrong. As with many things, there are different ways for treating the same problem and it is not fair to criticize a surgeon for using them. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Why is it some plastic surgeons are doing drainless? And is this true?

The plastic surgeon you are quoting made a very unfair and incorrect statement, probably because of being young with inadequate experience.  When we first started private practice close to 30 years ago we did not drain tummy tucks and after a while we realized that it was safer to use drains.  The "drainless technique" was recently re-introduced with some additional procedures to reduce the chance of fluid collection.  However, it is not for every patient, and an experienced plastic surgeon would tell you that he will try to avoid using drains if the field is dry enough, otherwise you need to be prepared to take care of drains for about one week.

Ruben B. Abrams, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Drains or no drains

Hello
When the skin is separated from the abdominal wall during the tummy tuck, it leaves a raw surface that can ooze blood and fluid until it sticks back down to the muscle. That blood and fluid could accumulate and cause what's called a seroma (a collection of fluid under the skin). For that reason, many surgeons use drains so that the fluid drains out, rather than accumulating under the skin.

However, there are newer techniques that allow us to avoid drains in many tummy tucks. Some surgeons use "quilting sutures" or "progressive tension sutures" to stick the skin back down to the abdominal wall. This works very well to prevent fluid buildup, take tension off the incision, and reduce swelling. Some surgeons will use quilting sutures, but also place a drain for a short time. All of the above options are acceptable, drains or no drains, and will depend upon your surgeon's experience and preferences.

Best wishes-

To drain or not to drain. . .

Abdominoplasties can definitely be done without drains.  Drs. Harlan Pollock and his son Todd Pollock have written about this in our plastic surgery literature as have others.  Space is obliterated using quilting type of sutures.  Still, many surgeons use drains which are fine too.   They are in for a short period of time and get the job done as well.   This is a minor issue in my opinion and feeling comfortable with your surgeon is much more important.   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.