How Long is It Safe for the Drains to Remain?

I had anaphylaxis after a face/neck lift 9/12/13, causing extreme swelling. It has been 9 days, I still have drains in my neck the doctor is checking almost daily. Should I seek further medical attention for aftercare for anaphylaxis?

Doctor Answers 7

Your body's fluid response will determine how long drains stay

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sorry about the anaphylaxis reaction and glad you are recovering.  A surgeon will check the drain output to determine when it should come out, usually when the fluid slows down.  after a facelift, 3-4 days of drainage are typical, but can extend longer than that if the body is putting out a lot of fluid, which is what is happening in your case.

Chevy Chase Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 107 reviews

Drains and Facelift

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Drains are very much a surgeon specific preference.  In my hands, drains are not used and unneccessary.  But it is merely a tool that some prefer.  The fact that your surgeon is checking on you daily will ensure your success with the operation.  Once they have diminished to less than 25cc in 24 hours they will be safe to remove.  Steroids can help with any allergic reaction to the plastic tubing or gauze wrapping.

Shepherd G. Pryor, MD
Scottsdale Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Face lift issue and drains

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sorry to hear about your problems. I will address the drain issue. Most surgeons remove the drains within a few days but this also depends upon  your output. Best to follow closely with your surgeon.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Anaphylaxis after face lift

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I am sorry that you had anaphyalxis after your face lift.

  1. If your face lift drains produce 30 cc or less a day, it is probably safe to remove them. Ask your plastic surgeon what his/her plan is for them.
  2. After your release from hospital for your face lift complication, see an allergist/immunologist to assess you for the cause of the anaphylaxis and prevention in the future. 

Drains following a facelift

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Your situation is unique so if your plastic surgeon is checking you daily, I would not worry. In normal circumstances, the drains are removed within one to three days. Ask what volume of fluid they are waiting for before removal will be performed. At least then you will know what to expect.

Patti A. Flint, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon

Swelling after facelift surgery and drains - Los Angeles

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If you had a severe complication during any surgery, I would seek the continued advice of your surgeon so as to minimize any further risk of problems.

Raffy Karamanoukian MD

Los Angeles, CA

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

Drains After Facelift

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If you ask 100 Surgeons about whether they use drains and for how long, you will get 100 different answers. The simple answer to your question is that 9 days is a long period for drains to remain in place.  However, assuming a large amount of swelling is present and/or the drainage exceeds the volume that your Surgeon feels comfortable with, then this is completely acceptable.  In my practice, I prefer passive (Penrose) drains which remain in place with the postoperative dressing.  Drains are used to prevent hematomas, but there is considerable controversy as to the risk/benefit ratio.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 104 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.