How Significantly Do Fluid Drains Reduce Swelling?

I recently had a breast revision surgery for a capsule. The Dr. gave me drains for one week afterwards. I'm only a wk and a half post op, but I am a full cup size bigger than I would like to be. I have 500 silicones,previously had 425-450 saline and I am hoping the silicone will appear similar to my saline size.Dr. said he goes bigger with silicone when matching saline to their size,because silicone appears smaller than saline. How significantly do you think drains reduced typical swelling?

Doctor Answers 9

Do Fluid Drains Reduce Swelling?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Drains remove fluid that might otherwise collect around the implants,but they do not reduce swelling. The capsule removal may have removed 25-50 cc or so, and that will account for some of the extra 50-75 cc of implant increase. It is hard to imagine that you would get a permanent one cup size increase in this setting with so small an increment in implant size.

All the best.

Seattle Plastic Surgeon

Drains did not decrease swelling associated with breast augmentation.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Some plastic surgeons place drains after breast augmentation surgery to remove any fluid that might accumulate next to the prosthesis.

Drains do not reduce swelling after surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

The function of drain placement following revision breast surgery is to help reduce fluid collection inside the breast. Failing to place drains in some instances may increase the risk of development of a seroma surrounding a breast implant. However, they do not technically reduce swelling that occurs within the breast tissue itself.

Kevin Brenner, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Drains routine after capsule surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

if you had a capsular contracture then the surgery was probably a capsulectomy, which is often associated with swelling and fluid weeping into the space. The drains prevent the fluid buildup but the swelling may take a while to go down. Since a capsulectomy by definition removes some tissue, the slightly larger implant should compensate for that without the breast size changing much. As for size, 500 cc of silicone is the same volume as 500 cc of saline, though the appearance may differ because of implant dimensions.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Drains and breast augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Drains help reduce blood and fluid in the pocket.  As for sizing, the shapes are different from saline to silicone so the volumes may be a bit different.

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

Post op swelling

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Only time will tell if your larger than expected outcome is fluid related.  Drains are very effective in minimizing fluid collections in women with a tendency to produce post operative serum.  The fact your drains were in for a week might suggest you are such a person who produces excess fluid.  Despite the drain, you may still have excess fluid around the implants.  This is no fault of yours or your doctor.  If there is excess fluid, once it has completely resolved, your size may be perfect. 

David Marcus, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

How Significantly Do Fluid Drains Reduce Swelling after Breast Surgery?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I do not think that drains necessarily reduce swelling much, if at all.  Drains do however remove fluid thereby preventing fluid accumulation around breast implants…  I too find that it is often necessary to use larger silicone gel breast implants to achieve the same look compared to saline breast implants.

 Given that you have had surgery “recently”, I would suggest that you continue to exercise patience and allow yourself several months before evaluating the outcome of the procedure performed. There many variables involved when it comes to the aesthetic outcome after revision breast surgery;  best to allow for time to pass before you becoming too concerned.

 Best wishes; hopefully, you will be pleased with the longer-term outcome of the procedure performed.

Drains Help Fluid

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Drains do not reduce swelling. Drains managed fluid. With an increased of 50 -75 mL you will have a slight increase in your size. This will only be apparent once all the swelling has decreased.

Dr. ES

Drains and swelling after breast revision surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Your breast implant size was not significantly changed. Swelling will account for most of your change in breast size.  A drain while helpful to remove any fluid that may accumulate it will not have much of an effect on your breast size.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 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.