Can draining 150cc dark red blood after 10 days Tummy tuck surgery be a sign of infection?

I underwent a tummy tuck with liposuction of the love handles 10 days ago. Since then my drainage has been consisted of dark red blood. My swelling is progressively decreasing, and the expected pain from surgery has been long gone since day 6 post op. However I am worried about still draining approximately 150cc dark red fluids and my surgeons nurse advised me on day 8 post op, that my drainage can not stay past day 12. In 12 hours my drainage is scheduled to be removed. Is this safe?

Doctor Answers 4

Drainage after tummy tuck

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 It is normal to have drainage after a tummy tuck.   That's why most surgeons place drainage tubes.   Very dark drainage may indicate that you had some bleeding below your abdominal flap which is now "organizing" and coming to your tubes.  The blood initially forms a clot which then breaks down into a liquid that can come out through your tubes.  Make sure that your surgeon understands how much drainage you're still getting. I would not recommend pulling your drainage tubes out if you're still getting 150 mL a day.  Best wishes to you!

Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Abdominoplasty Drainage

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Bloody drainage after a tummy tuck is not uncommon and will continue to decrease in volume as your recovery continues. It is not typically a sign of infection. Ideally, drainage should be less that 30cc/4hours to have the drains removed. Please make sure your surgeon knows the exact amount prior to removing the drains. It is disappointing to have to have them replaced. Good luck.

Erica Anderson, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews


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hard to say without seeing you, but I would not pull the drain if you are still draining 150cc a day.  this is not a sign of infection

Jonathan Saunders, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon

Drains Doing Their Jobs

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Thank you for your question.  Your drains seem to be doing exactly what they were put in place to do.  Drain output, amount and color, can depend on several factors:  amount of liposuction performed/removed, bleeding during your procedure or postoperatively, where the drains are placed, and there are a few more.  I have left drains in place for 3-4 weeks after abdominoplasties and/or panniculectomies.  I would definitely speak with your Board Certified Plastic Surgeon to make absolute sure that he or she wants them to be removed before the nurse pulls them.  Good luck!

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.