Drains After Tt?

Im having a tt-mostly just for loose skin aboube belly button-my stom already flat. do I really need a pain pump and drains?

Doctor Answers 14

Drains, Pain Pumps and Exparel Information

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Most surgeons still use drains for tummy tucks to less the chance of seromas (collections of fluid).
Re: the use of a pain pump, I no longer use these once Exparel became available.
Your recovery can be made much easier when Exparel is used.
Essentially Exparel is a very long-acting local anesthetic that has just been released. It lasts approximately 3 or more days following injection. This is the same length of time that a pain pump lasts and will therefore take the place of a pain pump. This means patients can enjoy the same effect of a pain pump, but without any catheters and no pain pump to carry around.
Exparel will be available for those concerned about minimizing discomfort after surgeries such as tummy tuck and breast augmentation.
Exparel costs the same as a pain pump and produces the same result but with less hassle.

Pain Pump and Drains after Tummy Tuck

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   A pain pump is not a necessary item and, according to some plastic surgeons, drains are not necessary either.  I would say that most plastic surgeons use drains to presumably prevent a fluid collection.

Drains after a tummy tuck.

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The drains collect fluid which will invariably build up and help the skin flap reattach to the abdominal wall. In certain cases of a lipo-abdominoplasty where the liposuction cannula is used to free up the skin, drains can be avoided. I prefer to bring the drains out the ends of the incision which eliminates the (sometimes) bothersome scars in the pubis.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


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The drains are for eliminating the dead space until there is a seal and it heals. Otherwise the area fills up with fluid

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Drains and Tummy Tucks

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Yes, I would use drains for your tummy tuck because, even with a smaller tummy, a so-called dead space is created during the procedure when the skin is lifted or undermined.  Weepage of body fluid from the lifted fat on the abdominal flap may be too much for the body to absorb without drains for a few days and can lead to a fluid collection called a seroma.  Many South American plastic surgeons are using "quilting sutures" underneath the lifted skin flap to obliterate the deadspace, but in a thinner abdomen these may be visible or palpable.  I don't use pain pumps;patients do fine with just pills.  I've never had a patient complain of pain when I see them at one week postop.  Hope this helps. 

Peter J. Simon, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon

Drains and pumps

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I use drains in all my tummy tucks because they reduce the risks of seroma and wound dehiscence. As for the pain pumps, I have not been a fan because they can malfunction and are quite expensive. I have found that pain can be controlled with medication and my patients have reported that the pain is much more tolerable than they expected. Pain elimination in full can pose a dilemma as, if you don't feel pain, you are far more likely to overexert and risk a complication.

Drains and pumps

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Most plastic surgeons use drains for abdominoplasty. As far as pain pumps many of us are giving them up in favor of a new pain control injection called Exparel. I would research this medication too as I believe it is a game changer in abdominoplasty recovery. The medication is a long lasting local anesthetic that numbs the muscle and skin for 72 hours after the procedure. My patients have been showing recoveries literally night and day from 6 months ago. It is worth researching!

Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Drains and pain pump after TT.

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Most surgeons routinely use drains after a TT, but there is a small trend to use multiple sutures tacking the tissue to the muscles and not using drains. The majority of cases are performed using drains.

I stopped using pain pumps 8 years ago as they were expensive and leaked and often times malfunctioned. I now inject long acting numbing medicine in the fascia (deep layer just above the muscles) before closing the incision. Using standard oral pain medicine and muscle relaxers after surgery great helps as well. Good luck.

Brian J. Lee, MD
Fort Wayne Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Drains after Tummy Tuck

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I previously used pain pumps for my tummy tuck patients, but rarely do so now. The painful part of the surgery is the tightening of the muscles. This is usually tolerable with oral pain medication. If you know that you don't handle pain well, a pump might be a good idea.

Most plastic surgeons use drains to evacuate the fluid that always fills the space betweent he skin/fat layer and the muscle layer after surgery. The drains need to stay in place until the drainage is low enough that an accumulation of fluid (seroma) would be unlikely after the drains are removed. For a small tummy tuck, the drains might come out within a few days. For very large tummy tucks, they may stay in 10-14 days and sometimes longer. No patient likes them, but they're used for your own good.

Andres Taleisnik, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Drains and Pain Pump after Tummy Tuck

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Regarding a pain pump after a rummy tuck, this is purely your choice. The pain pump infuses a small amount of numbing medicine for 3-5 days after surgery. My experience is that it doesn't entirely get rid of the pain and it adds more tubes that you need to carry around after surgery. I stopped using them about 2 years ago and now use an injectable long acting pain medicine.  Drainage tubes are standard after tummy tucks and you should expect to have 1 or 2 drains for up to a week. They will be removed after the amount of liquid that drains is less than about 30cc per 24 hours (or whatever criteria your surgeon uses)

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.