Is It Normal for PS to Withhold the Amount They Want Coming from Your Drains & Below 20cc? (photo)

I feel like my PS & me are just not on the same page. I have consistently for 3 days had my output below 20 around 15-18cc in 24 hrs on one side and see-saw between 20-26 on other side. I am 9 days post TT with muscle and hernia repair and lipo of hips/flanks. I have read that generally most PS take them out between 20-30cc. I feel like my PS doesn't trust me with "magic number" instead has me call the nurse daily with output update? Is this a common practice or short-ended stick here?

Doctor Answers 8


Looks like you have a really nice result. Each surgeon has guideline criteria and they are not the same for each patient.

Mine, for example,is 30 cc total--both drains are draining the same field. I might take out the some draining less today or soon, the other after it reaches by "threshold". That guideline may be different for patients who had liposuction in the same field. When may patients are draining over 30cc/day, I have them call in with daily reports.

All the best 

Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Drain output meeting goal post Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for your question.  Drains are typically removed when there is less than 30cc in the drain for 24 hours.  In most cases, the first drain comes out by day 7 and the second drain by day 14.  Note that the drainage may increase after the first couple of days and the patient moves about more.  Each Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is different.  Please communicate with your Plastic Surgeon your questions. Together you will make a plan.

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Drain management after Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question and photographs. You appear to have an excellent result after your Tummy Tuck so I am assuming that you have a knowledgeable and skilled plastic surgeon.

Plastic surgeons all like to remove drains as soon as possible. The fact that your surgeon is reluctant to remove your drain most likely means that he or she is concerned about a seroma and it is truly best if you follow your plastic surgeons advice.

Drain output and when to remove.

Drain outputs are very surgeon and operation dependent. It is true that many feel that a 24 hour accumulation of < 30ml is appropriate for most drain removals, however in certain cases surgeons may keep drains longer. This is particularly true in cases where the drain may clog frequently leading to less accurate results. Trust is very important in the doctor/patient relationship. You entrusted your surgeon with the importance of performing the operation - now it's time to trust them with the postoperative management.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Drain output after surgery

It sounds like your doctor is being cautious, I would not worry. He or she is probably trying to minimize you chances of having a seroma. So far so good in my opinion.

Gregory T. Lynam, MD
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 59 reviews

Is It Normal for PS to Withhold the Amount They Want Coming from Your Drains & Below 20cc? (photo)

As individual PSs we each have our own citeria for the time to "pull" the drains. Your PS seems to be very very conservative. So do not hold that against him. 

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

Removing drains after tummy tuck

You are in the right range for drain removal. Your doctor will have their own parameters but leaving them in a little longer minimizes the risk of seroma.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

When to remove the drains following an abdominoplasty

Every plastic surgeon will have a different parameter for removing drains following an abdominoplasty.  It has nothing to do with trust and everything to do with your clinical evaluation and drain fluid output.  From what you describe I would imagine that the drains will be removed soon.  I have never regretted keeping the drains in a little longer so as to avoid collection of fluid under the skin  and a seroma. 

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 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.