Are drains always necessary after breast explantation?

I want to have my breast implants removed as I am experiencing my 2nd capsular contracture. I have seen several surgeons and I am confused. The surgeon that I felt most comfortable with is a Harley Street Surgeon however he has said that I would not need drains after the explantation. Can someone please advise as the previous surgeons have stated that I would require drains.

Doctor Answers 8

Drains after explant

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Drains are not always used when implants are removed.  They are placed to collect fluid from the breast space after surgery.  If capsules are removed as well as the implants, there is a greater chance that drains will be used.  Since you are comfortable with your surgeon, I would trust his judgement. Best wishes.

Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

#Explant #BreastImplantRemoval - drains always necessary?

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No, drains are not always necessary.  It is more likely a question of surgeon preference than any absolute standards.

In general, the larger the space being left behind, and if there is more "oozing" at the time of the surgery, the more likely a surgeon will be to use drains.  However, some surgeons use them a lot (I generally like to drain spaces after implant removal as it helps evacuate fluid that would otherwise accumulate) but many surgeons do not and so, clearly, there are no absolute answers.

I would recommend that you choose the surgeon you're most comfortable with, taking all factors into consideration.  

I hope that this helps and good luck,

Dr. Alan Engler
Member of #RealSelf100

Are drains always necessary after breast explantation?

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Thank you for your question.  Drains are not always used after removal of breast implants,  It depends upon your surgeon's judgement.  I rarely need them after explant.  I know many surgeons who use them after all procedures without question.  I would trust the judgement of your surgeon on this issue.  There is no "right" or Wrong" answer.  Good luck.

David J. Wages, MD
Peabody Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Do I need drains after breast explant?

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Thanks for your question.  Most plastic surgeons recommend placing drains after breast explant if a capsulectomy is also done, which can cause more serous drainage for a longer period of time.  With a straightforward breast explant with no capsulectomy and minimal bleeding during the procedure, some surgeons do not leave a drain.  In your case with recurrence of capsular contracture, the capsule should be removed, and using drains would be recommended.   Best of luck!


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Every surgeon has his/her own preference of when to use drains. I have never used drains after augmentation or removal. Find a board certified plastic surgeon that you are most comfortable with and discuss all your concerns.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Are drains always necessary after breast explantation?

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Each surgeon has his own preferences. Personally I almost never drain a simple explantation but do drain most explants that require a capsulectomy. 

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

To drain or not to drain?

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As a rule of thumb I prefer to use drains in this procedure.  I have found seroma formation (fluid in the space of the old implant) is rather bothersome for a patient.  If the implant only is removed (small incision without excision of any scar tissue) then the drain often comes out within 24 to 48 hours.  If the capsule (scar tissue that formed around the implant) is removed then drains usually stay in for up to a week, depending on when your body heals the pocket closed.  If you don't use drains and a seroma forms that needs to be drained, then you would need a needle injected to aspirate the fluid.  But I would rely on your "comfort" and reputation of the plastic surgeon that you chose and the discussions that you have with him/her.  Ask him about his experience of possible seroma formation and how they will handle it if it occurs and what risk you are comfortable with.  Good luck.

Joseph Poggi, MD
Wichita Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Drains aren't always used

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Thanks for your question. If a capsulectomy is done then there can be a lot of oozing in the pocket. A drain is used to evacuate that fluid. If the only thing being done is removing the implant then I do not use a drain in those circumstances. Best of Luck!

M. Scott Haydon, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 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.