What Determines the Amount of Time Drains are Kept in Post Tummy Tuck?

does the more fat you have removed after a tummy tuck determine the amount of time the drains are kept in , or does it just go by how well your body heals as an individual?

Doctor Answers 15

Drains after tummy tucks

most drains will be left in 3-5 days until there is less than one once or 30 cc per day.

liposuction sometimes increases the time

Orange County Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 109 reviews

Drains After a Tummy Tuck

when to remove them is determined by how much fluid is coming out. I typically am looking for two things. First that the fluid becomes more clear or watery, with less blood. Secondly, it is volume. I look for 20-25 cc's per drain over 24 hours before I remove them. Excessive activity after the tummy tuck can cause more fluid and prolong the time. Even after waiting for those parameters, fluid can still accumulate after the drains are removed. The majority of the time that small amount can be absorbed by the body, but if large amounts accumulate, they can be drained using a small needle. Luckily, that is not a common occurrence.

Julio Garcia, MD
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

What Determines the Amount of Time Drains are Kept in Post Tummy Tuck?

As you can read the majority expert posters believe the amount in each drain should be less than 20 to 30 cc's in a 24 hour period. Accurate recording of the amounts is needed to help determine when the drain can be removed or "pulled" 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Drains for tummy tucks and what determines how long they are in

The factor that determines how long drains remain in after a tummy tuck is the volume of drainage that occurs in a given period of time, typically over 24 hr periods of time. Some plastic surgeons will remove a drain when the amount gets below 20cc in a 24hr period for at least a day or so; others use 25cc or even more.

There are many factors that affect this including even the persons level of activity which does vary from day to day.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Amount Of Drainage Determines Time To Remove Drains

The volume of fluid which drains during a 24 hour period typically determines when a drain is removed following a tummy tuck or any other surgery (breast reduction, for example).  I tend to remove drains when the volume reaches around 30cc for a 24 hour period.  In general patients undergoing tummy tucks at or near their ideal weight usually have the drains removed a bit earlier than those wo are not.

John Whitt, MD (retired)
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Drains after tummy tuck

Drains are kept in as long as necessary and are removed usually once the fluid output has dropped below a certain threshold.  That typically takes about 2 weeks, but depends on a lot of factors such as the size of the surgical space, how much fat tissue there is, how active and patient is postoperatively, and sometimes diet/salt intake and other factors that we can't predict.   Having said that, I rarely use drains for tummy tucks now and utilitze internal progressive tension or quilting sutures to eliminate the space where fluid can accumulate.   It is great for patients to recover without the annoyance of drain tubes. 

Michelle A. Spring, MD, FACS
Missoula Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Drains for abdominoplasty

Dear Miss Deevah,

I no longer utilize drains when I do an abdominoplasty.  I find that internal quilting sutures make them unnecessary.  When I used to use drains, they were kept in place until they were done doing their job which is usually when the drain output is 25-30 ccs per day. 

Craig Harrison, MD, PA
Tyler Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tummy Tucks and Drains

Drains are often used after tummy tucks (abdominoplasty) to prevent fluid from accumulating under the skin and to allow the skin to adhere to the muscle wall. How long they are left in depends on how much fluid is coming out and on your plastic surgeons experience.

Sometimes additional sutures are placed during surgery to help the skin stick, and no drains are used. Additional support with an abdominal binder can help decrease the time needed for drains. While these can help decrease the amount of time drains need to be left in place, the best time to remove your drains will depend on how you are healing.

Joseph Mele, MD
Walnut Creek Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Tummy Tuck Drains

In my practice, I will remove the drains when the output is less than 30 cc in 24 hours. This is generally 7-10 days. This is completely individualized, although I have found that heavier individuals seem to keep the drains longer.

Brian Klink, MD
Vacaville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Tummy Tuck or Abdominoplasty Drain Duration

After surgery the drains are kept in place in order to lower the risk of seroma or fluid collections.  In my practice the time is related to how much volume is coming from the drains.  Once the drainage has decreased enough then theoretically, your body can accept and reabsorb the smaller amount of drainage on its own.  This time is often 2 or 3 weeks.

Jeff Scott, MD
Everett Plastic Surgeon
5.0 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.