How Important is It to Place a Drain After Implant Extraction?

I have saline subpect implants I want out for several reasons. I want a simple extraction. What are the odds that I will have fluid accumulate and do I need a drain placed if the capsules are left in place?

Doctor Answers 13

Drains after explantation?

With implant removal, I do recommend the placement of drains in all my patients though they can be of a very small size and can possibly be removed within a few days. Without them, a certain percentage of patients will accumulate fluid which then has to be aspirated out with needles - not necessarily a pleasant option. In rare situations and with persistent fluid accumulation, a drain may even then need to be placed.

There are differing approaches and there may not be a right or wrong answer as it is plastic surgeon preference but the above is what I find works for me (and is the rationale of why I do it).

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Placement of drain with breast implant removal (explantation)

The odds of having fluid accumulate are 100%. The odds of it being a problem are more difficult to quantify. Oftentimes the fluid accumulates and slowly absorbs allowing for a gradual and concentric reduction and contraction of the breast which is a good thing, Alternatively if it gets infected or forms a chronic pseudocyst, it could be a bad thing. In general I do not use a drain unless treating a chronically draining seroma or infected wound cavity.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Drain after implant removal

If just the implants are removed and nothing is done wit the capsule, it is OK not to place a drain (but depends on surgeon preference). However, there is a risk of fluid collecting in the empty space. If this happens, it can be removed with a needle, or a small drain can be placed later. In my experience, it is usually not a major problem.

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Drains after Breast Implant Removal?

 Personally, I find the use of drains helpful during most cases involving removal of breast implants. Work with your surgeon to determine the best location for drain placement ( to hide it as much as possible); the resulting scars are usually quite small. Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,503 reviews

Drain placement after implant removal

Drain placement is frequently done after implant removal to prevent fluid accumulation.  Therefore, if you don't get drains your risk of fluid build-up is pretty high.

Jeffrey E. Schreiber, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 202 reviews

Breast implant removal without drains

We do not use drains when breast implants are removed, or removed and replaced. Occasionally there will be a small fluid collection called a seroma, though a snug bra and time will solve the situation without a drain.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Using drains when removing breast implants

Drains can help eliminate any accumulation of fluid in the breast pocket. If your surgeon plans on leaving the capsule in tact, you will likely not need drains. If the capsules are removed you may need drains for a few days to help close the "dead space" that may be left behind once the implant is removed.

Your surgeon may also choose to place some internal sutures to help close off the space.

Best wishes,


William Bruno, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 382 reviews

Drain after implant removal

Drains are not necessary if the capsule is left intact.  Your board certified plastic surgeon should choose to remove the capsule if is causing problems (which you say you have).  If that is the case then he will need drains.  Best wishes,

Ricardo A. Meade, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 121 reviews

Drains for implant extraction

Using a drain makes sure that fluid does not accumulate which you are healing.  Although it is annoying for a few days, it makes sure the fluid gets out.  If the fluid does accumulate, you will need to have it removed in the office with a needle, which is not a big deal but it is uncomfortable for you.

Bivik Shah, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Implant removal and drains

Not all breast explanatations require drains. If it is pretty dry then drains are probably not necessary.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 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.