What Happens when Your Last Drain Comes out Before It is Ready?

I am 18 days post-op and my second and final drain came out over night. I was still draining around 60 to 80cc a day. What should I expect my PS to do?

Doctor Answers 9

Drain fell out while still draining a sizable amount of fluid

Though you didn't state what your procedure was, I will assume that it was most probably a tummy tuck. The amount that was draining, 60 - 80cc per 24 hours, was still quite a lot. The odds are that you will start accumulating this fluid as a seroma. Treatment can be either repeated aspirations or re-insertion of your drain.

Make sure that your plastic surgeon is aware of your situation. He/she should be following you very closely particularly if aspirations are being done.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Drains are important

I am sorry to hear your drain came out, my guess is you had a tummy tuck.  80 cc is lot of fluid and without the drain you may form a seroma, a fluid collection.  Please see her plastic surgeon immediately, he/she will discuss compression, observance, and the probability you will need the fluid to be drained with a needle in the office.  Good luck

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 201 reviews


Sometimes fluid reaccumulates and sometimes it does not. You and your surgeon will need to watch for this. If a significant amount does accumulate, it is advisable to have it drained.

Michael Hueneke, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Tummy Tuck and Drains?

Thank you for the question.

Although the premature drain “removal” is a nuisance,  you do not need to be too worried. It will be important to follow up with your plastic surgeon closely so he/she can evaluate you physically and drain any fluid  accumulation that occurs. Sometimes this aspiration ( which tends to be painless) needs to be repeated a few times.

Again, the important thing is to follow up closely with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,499 reviews

What Happens when Your Last Drain Comes out Before It is Ready?

Uh oh....But it does happen....If fluid builds back up you can drain it off a few times with a needle done in the office (and gladly you are still numb!) or a drain can be put back in if you need to....Your doctor will know...If nothing is done, fluid buildup can turn into a long term issue like a Seroma, and that is really a pain!!!

John J. Corey, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

What to do about drain coming out too soon.

This may not be a problem.  How long drains are left in place is very subjective, there is no standard.  Let your doctor know what happened.  Most of us would watch to make sure a fluid pocket (called a seroma) does not develop.  If it does, it can often be drained through the numb skin on the belly.  Less often, another drain needs to be put back in.

Michael S. Hopkins, MD (retired)
Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

What Happens after Drain Falls Out

Just let your surgeon know. If there is a fluid build up, then another drain can be placed. After 18 days, most drains are not needed.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Drains after plastic surgery

I am sorry to hear that your drain pulled out.  This happens occasionally.  I would notify your plastic surgeon so that you can get an appointment to be seen.  With drain output in the 60-80cc/day range its likely that you will accumulate some fluid under your skin where the drain was.  This is called a seroma.  Your plastic surgeon may choose to treat this fluid by removing it with a small needle and syringe which may take several times or if this dosent work may choose to place a small drain back in the area.  Either approach is correct and depends on your individual case.  It is also possible that you will absorb the extra fluid and no additional procedures will be needed.

Mahlon Kerr, MD, FACS
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 217 reviews

Dealing with Drains

I recommend you see your surgeon so he/she can evaluate how you're doing. It sounds like you're still draining a fair amount of fluid and you'll want to take care of this to avoid complications. Sometimes fluids will collect in the abdominal space which can be aspirated with a needle in your physician's office.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

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.