What facelift procedures require drainage tubes?

My question is regarding procedures that need drainage tubes. A friend in Chicago had a mini lift without drainage tubes and had one, maybe two follow up appointments. Are drainage tubes typical for mini facelifts? How long before they come out? I'm also wondering how soon I would be ready to attend an important event following the procedure. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 9

Not always Necessary

The usage of drainage tubes is really dependant on the plastic surgeon. For the recovery period of a mini facelift, you should be looking and feeling great after about 3 weeks. If you are exploring the options of a mini-lift as compared to a full facelift, make sure that you also explore the right type of cosmetic surgeon to perform your plastic surgery. A facial plastic surgeon is a cosmetic doctor that is an expert strictly in the head and neck. Focusing on the head and neck area means that the specialty area is concentrated and the surgeon is extremely familiar with facelift procedures (one of the most popular and common facial cosmetic surgeries). It is best to choose a qualified expert for the specific cosmetic surgery that you are considering.

Toronto Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 147 reviews

Facelift Does Not Always Require Drains!

Thank you for your question.

Mini facelift surgery does not necessarily require use of drains. Many surgeons do, however, place small drains for a short time after surgery, with the goal of reducing bruising. I personally do not use drains for my facelift patients. Instead, I take a little extra time during the operation to ensure small areas of bleeding have been carefully cauterised. Drains do not always necessarily prevent possible bleeding complication. I do not use drains and have pioneered The Concept Facelift, having a 0% incident rate of hematoma.

It is important to focus more on the results of your surgeon as illustrated in their pre & post operative facelift patients. Do you like their results, will the surgeon meet your expectations, is the facility where you are going to have your surgery performed accredited? These might be much more important. I do not think the use of drains or not drains would reflect the surgeons ability.

All The Best

Does a mini lift need drainagetubes?

In most min lifts the amount of skin undermined is much less that in a traditional facelift. For this reason the tubes are probably not necessary Each surgeon has to make this decision based on the amount of bleeding that is likely to occur postoperatively so I don't think there is an absolute rule about this.

Good luck!.

Thomas Buonassisi, MD
Vancouver Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 105 reviews

My question is regarding facelift procedures that need drainage tubes.

  Hi, I have performed many facelifts over the past 30 years.  All of the more invasive type facelifts that are described below will requiree drains and a pressure dressing due to the extensive amount of tissue undermining these facelifts require.  The minimally, invasive type facelift described below has much less tissue undermining and does not require drains or placement of a pressure dressing.  

  Following the beauty principles outlined in my book on face and body beauty, women look the most feminine, youthful and attractive with heart shaped faces.  Heart shaped faces have cheeks that are full and round in the front.  Cheek augmentation using a dermal filler (I prefer Restylane Lyft) or with cheek implants for a permanent enhancement will create full, round cheeks anteriorly that will feminize the entire face.

 Jowls are sagging facial tissues and an indication for some form of a SMAS facelift.  The underlying SMAS layer, of the face, must be dissected, lifted, trimmed and re-sutured.  The excess skin is then removed and the facelift incisions closed.

 My most popular facelift is the minimally invasive, short incision facelift that has all the benefits of more invasive facelifts (traditional, mid-face, cheek lift, deep plane and subperiosteal facelifts) but with these added benefits:

•very small incisions
•minimal tissue dissection = less bruising and swelling = rapid recovery
•can be performed in 90 minutes or less, with or without anesthesia
•no incisions within the hair = no hair loss
•excess fat can be removed
•excess skin removed
•cheeks, chin and jaw line can be augmented with dermal fillers (I prefer Restylane Lyft) or facial implants
•most patients fly back home to parts all over the world in as little as 3 days post-op

  I tell potential facelift patients to think of creating a more beautiful or handsome face by working on three tissue levels.  The bony structure should be appropriate to make a woman’s face heart shaped and a man’s face chiseled and angular which is described below.  Next the fatty layer should be reduced or shaped allowing the shape to be seen and finally excess SMAS and skin evidenced by the presence of jowls) should be removed from the face and neck.

Hope this helps.

Francis R. Palmer, III, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Are Drainage Tubes Required for Mini Facelifts?

To a large degree this depends on the surgeon's preference. In general I do not use tubes for mini facelifts such as the Lite Lift, MACS lift or others. Ask your surgeon.

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 154 reviews

Drainage Tubes after Facelift

The terms Facelift and Mini-Facelift are very imprecise and mean different things to different people. Many Mini-facelifts barely undermine anything. For these, there is no need for a drain, but they also do not really provide any real correction of the facial aging deformity. Most real facelifts, when done properly, also do not really need drains. The drains were initially done to prevent blood collection, however, they really do not do this. I do still use them, almost always removing them the next morning, since they do reduce swelling and speed recovery. Almost all of my patients can go back to normal, non strenuous activities by about 5 days and "important events" by 10 days. (See TodaysFacelift.com)

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Facelift procedures don't require drainage tubes - but patients deserve them

Short answer: see the video at the YouTube link below!

For the first 8-9 years of my practice, I did not use drainage tubes, as they are not strictly required. I felt the fear of the tubes discouraged some patients from having the surgery. As a subsitiute, I used to use pressure dressings and/or tissue glues.

At the persuasion of one of my colleagues, I tried a couple facelifts with drainage tubes about 4 years ago. The difference was astounding! No bulky, hot, pressure dressing was needed - so patients were more comfortable, and there was no chance for the dressing to bunch up and cause any healing issues with the skin. Further, since the face isn't hidden by a big, bulky dressing, it was easier for me and the patient's caregiver to have total confidence there was no fluid buildup occurring out of sight under the dressing.

More remarkably, the bruising was decreased by over 90% compared to any other approach I've ever tried. Nothing comes close to drain tubes in how much the prevent bruising. Nothing.

Please see the YouTube video I've linked - it is a video of the drains being removed from one of my patients 5 days after a full facelift, brow lift, full face fat transfer, and full face laser resurfacing. I hope it helps allay any fears you may have.

As for returning to work after a well-done facelift, expect 2-3 weeks. For important functions, like a child's wedding, 3 months. While this is longer than the window necessary for a quick surgical approach, the results are not comparable in beauty, natural appearance, or durability.

Laxmeesh Mike Nayak, MD
Saint Louis Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 198 reviews

Drains and Mini Facelifts

It is surgeons preference to use drains during a mini facelift.  I commonly use drains in my mini facelifts for 24 hours.  I believe the drains speed up the healing process by decreasing bruising and limiting the chance of a lump or bump under the skin after surgery.  Other doctors may not use drains and that is appropriate.  

I hope this helps.  

Jonathan Kulbersh, MD
Charlotte Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Drains post mini lift

Thank you for your question.
It really depends on the surgeon and their technique as to whether they use drains. Although I do not routinely use drains for mini lifts there may be certain circumstances where it may be necessary. it is best to see some different surgeons for consultations to see what their normal practice is.
Good luck

Chien C. Kat, FRCS
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 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.