How Long is Too Long to Have a Drain?

I had my first drain removed around the 2 week mark. Tomorrow will be 4 weeks and I still have the other drain. I am still producing different amounts each day. Some days are below 30 CC's while others are more than 40 CC's. It is so annoying and the drain site is bothering me more now. My doctor is awesome and he has taken extremely good care of me. He says that sometimes this happens and when it does he doesn't like to remove them to early.

Doctor Answers 6

Drain issue

The length of time the drain is in place will vary from patient to patient.  If the drain is removed too early the fluid will accumulate and you will need to have it removed on a regular basis.  It sounds as though your plastic surgeon is keep a close eye on you and you should continue close follow up.

Thank you for your question and good luck.

Fort Myers Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

How long can you have a drain for a Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for your question.  Drains are typically removed when there is less than 30cc in the drain for 24 hours.  In most cases, the first drain comes out by day 7 and the second drain by day 14.  Note that the drainage may increase after the first couple of days and the patient moves about more.  Each Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is different.  Please communicate with your Plastic Surgeon your concerns.  It sounds like you are working together, and it should work out.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Drain removal

There is no set time to remove a drain.  However, the longer they stay in the more likely they can become infected.  Taking it out with a significant amount of drainage may result in a seroma.  Follow closely with your surgeon.

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

Drain Removal

Thank you for your question.  Drains left in after a tummy tuck are removed according to how much drainage is coming out.  This generally lasts 7-10 days.  It may take longer in larger cases.  It sounds like your surgeon is on top of the situation and I would continue to follow up with him. 

Sometimes you reach a point where you just need to remove it and see if a seroma develops.  This would then require serial aspirations until it's resoved.  If it doesn't resolve, another operation may be necessary to remove the seroma cavity that may have formed. 

Best Wishes,

Dr. Brian Joseph

Brian Joseph, MD
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Drain in Too Long?

Thank you for the question.

It sounds like your  plastic surgeon is following you closely.  I would suggest that you continue to follow his advice regarding drain removal. Unless there is an infection associated with the drain (unusual),  there will be minimal downside to keeping the drain in place until its output is lower.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,488 reviews

Tummy tuck drains usually out earlier

Drains after a standard Tummy tuck are rarely in for four weeks. However in some circumstances (like massive weight loss, or significant simultaneous liposuction), they can drag on for even a few weeks extra.

If the drainage doesn't diminish, the doctor may recommend a trial of just biting the bullet and removing the drain. If a seroma (fluid collection occurs, he can drain it with a small needle in the office. If it still persists, you may be returning to the OR to close the pocket around the chronic fluid ("remove the seroma capsule").

Good Luck

Gary S. Berger, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 10 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.