Drain removal after tummy tuck and breast lift. How long till the drains are removed?

I had surgery April 5. No drains in breast, but two at hips for tummy tuck. The drains secrete about 25 cc for the last two days. However, the color is still light red. 

Doctor Answers 13

Drain Removal

The average time for drains to be in following a tummy tuck is 10-14 days.  In some patients this time may be longer due to excessive drainage from the wound.  I like to take the drains out when the amount of drainage is below 25cc total for both drains in a 24 hour period.  It should not be an issue that the drainage is still light red.  Be sure to consult your surgeon for their recommendations following surgery since these can vary between doctors.  

Portland Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Drain removal after tummy tuck and breast lift. How long till the drains are removed?

Drains can stay in for 1-2 weeks post op but are typically removed when the drainage is below 25-30cc/24 hours. Best to call your operating surgeon since you may be ready for drain removal!

Farah Naz Khan, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 97 reviews

Mommy Makeover - Drain Removal

Thank you for your question. I remove drains when the output is less than 30cc for 24 hours. It's best to be patient and wait until the output is at the level of your surgeon's threshold. Hope this helps. 

Steven J. Rottman, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 78 reviews

Drain removal after tummy tuck and breast lift. How long till the drains are removed?

Thank you for your question.  Most doctors like the drainage to be less than 25cc per 24 hour period.  You can call your doctor and see if you can go in to have them removed or they will probably get removed on your next appointment.

Rigo Mendoza, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Drains removal after tummy tuck

Most surgeons have their own specific criteria for drain removal, including the volume over a 24 hour period, the trend (volume steadily going down each day, or down one day and up the next), the procedure, how long they have been in, and the color of the fluid.  At 25 cc (which is a bit less than two tablespoons) per day, they are in the range for possible removal soon.  Always follow the advice of your plastic surgeon.  Best wishes for a beautiful result!

Alyson Wells, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Tummy tuck drains -when do they come out?

Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck drains.

As a rule, drains can be removed when drainage is less than 25 cc in 24 hours.
It sounds as though you should let your surgeon know - and arrange to have the drains removed.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon.
Best wishes - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Tummy tuck surgery can drain you.

My average for drains in a tummy tuck is 1 week.  Their function is often optional after 5 days; sometimes they get clotted but still act like a "wick," with fluid draining around them.  This is still useful.  If the drainage is dark or solid red especially after you move around, they are still needed.  If it is a pink-colored nearly clear fluid and at the amount you state, they have probably fully lived their usefulness.  Early removal could lead to a hematoma (blood collection) or serum (fluid collection); both these can cause problems including secondary infection.  The drains can actually stimulate some fluid formation inside, so with the amount you have, it is probably time to liberate you from those tubes.  Make sure your surgeon is involved in this decision!  I only do vertical and donut lifts, and these don't usually need drains.   Overnight at the most for the verticals.....no drains for donuts.

Myles Goldflies, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Drains are not always used with an abdominoplasty as part of a mommy makeover.

I personally don't use drains for an abdominoplasty or for breast surgery. Surgeons who employ drains leave them in for varying lengths of time. They each have criteria for removal. Your surgeon will tell you exactly how long he intends to leave the drains in place.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


Thank you for your question and congratulations on your surgery.  Surgeons have different criteria for removing drains but most would agree that 25cc over 2 days is low enough to have the drain removed.  Be sure to check with your surgeon.  Good luck!

Zachary Farris, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Drain removal

Congratulations on your recent surgery!  Every surgeon has different criteria for drain removal.  Contact your plastic surgeon and ask about their specific criteria.  Best of luck to you in the recovery process.  

Carmen Kavali, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 42 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.