I haven't gotten my surgery yet, but typically how long should drains be kept in after a Tummy Tuck to avoid seromas? (photo)

I am 169lbs 5 feet 5. 5 inches tall and am getting both bbl and tummy tuck surgery in October. I know that pictures are not the best way to decide on a good candidate for surgery but feel free to add advice... I've included a wish pic... is it possible?

Doctor Answers 22

Drains and seromas

Hello and thank you for your question. Drains are usually removed when less than 30 cc ' per 24hrs. As far as advice regarding your upcoming surgery. I believe you are an excellent candidate for a bbl. To ensure that you get the best possible results,  I would do that first by itself. You need to stay off your bottom for one week. That is why the tummy tuck should be done at a second operation and then only if needed.
Peter Fisher M.D. 


San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Drain Removal After Tummy Tuck

One to two weeks is the usual time for drains to be left in place and are generally removed when they drain less than 30 cc per 24 hours. If a lot to liposuction is done at the same time, it may take a bit longer.

Post-op drains and Tummy Tuck

Hello and thanks for the question. Drains are important post-op in a Tummy Tuck to aoid fluid buildup under your abdominal skin flaps. The length of time before removing depends on the drainage amounts. There is no set amount of drainage but as a rule the overall daily total amount needs to decrease as well as the trend (i.e. consistent decrease and not erractic pattern). Surgeons will vary in the length of time they leave drains in. The drains can stay in anywhere from 1-3 weeks depending on the extent of the Tummy Tuck and if liposuction is performed at the same time. In general liposuction of the abdomen, hips and flanks is performed for shaping and to have a source for the fat to be used in the injections but it will be a difficult recovery to have an abdominplasty performed at the same time as a BBL. I would recommend that the adbominoplasty be performed after the BBL. To allow the fat micrografts to"take" well, I ask my patients to not sit on their buttocks for two weeks and then after that sit with cushions to modify their sitting pattern and keep pressure off the buttocks for two more weeks. There is no set rule for this but many people feel that this treatment would help the fat grafts to survive better. Most patients lie on their stomach to keep pressure off their buttocks and you will not be able to do this easily if the Tummy Tuck is performed at the same time.

Tummy tuck and drains

I use drains during tummy tucks.  I keep them in until I feel that the drainage is low enough for the body to absorb it on its own. Often patients have them for about a week, but some have them longer.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Drains and Tummy Tucks

Thank you for your post.  Whenever there is a potential space in your body, your body tends to fill that space with serous fluid (the yellow type of fluid that also comes out of a 'weeping wound'.  This is similar to when you get a blister: the layers of skin separate and fluid is deposited in to the space.  In a tummy tuck, the space is in between the skin/fat layer and the muscle layer.  Most surgeons will place a drain to remove this fluid while your body is secreting it until the fat layer grows back together with the muscle layer.  At that point, no more fluid is secreted into the area, because there is no more space for fluid.  The length of time that this takes varies from patient to patient.  Some patients heal much faster, thus the layers seal together much faster.  Also, the more twisting motion you have in your belly area, the slower the two layers grow back together because they are moving in relation to each other.  The fluid coming through the drain can be initially dark red, and eventually clears to pink then yellow.  This is because it takes just a little bit of blood to make the fluid dark red.  Also, initially, there can be a large amount of fluid (few hundred cc's in the first day is not out of the range of normal) and this should slow down substantially over next few days.  Once the fluid slows down to the amount that your surgeon is comfortable with (usually 25-50 cc in 24 hours) then they will be pulled. There is minimal discomfort in pulling the drain in most patients.  
More recently, 'drain free' surgery has become more popular. Fat layer is sutured down to the muscle layer starting at the ribs and progressively down to the lower incision.  This makes the space for the fluid to collect much smaller, and in many patients can have surgery without drains.  However, I have seen multiple patients come from other surgeons because they developed a seroma despite the suturing of the tissue.  This is not the surgeon's fault, but some patients just do not heal fast enough or put out too much fluid for the body to absorb.  
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Two Weeks For Drain Removal

Usually drains are removed after about 2 weeks, although they may not be necessary depending on your situation. 

Here are some tips to help you recover:
stay well hydrated and go to the washroom regularly
avoid salty foods and eat healthily
get plenty of rest, but also try to move around a bit at a leisurely pace to keep your circulation going when you're not lying down
once you have adequately recovered, you can consider lymphatic massage, but only with your surgeon's advice  

You may be able to achieve the body contour you want. Best of luck!

Tummy tuck & BBL

By your description and photos you appear to be a good candidate for tummy tuck with BBL.  I think you would have a nice result.  If drains are used they typically stay in 1-3 weeks and often surgeons use output volume as a guide.  Everyone does this just a bit different.

Seroma after TT

You are a wonderful candidate for Tummy tuck to get rid if the saggy  skin on your abdomen. But mainly to do a nice and right muscle repair to achieve the smallest waist possible and a very curvaceous result will be completed with the BBL. 
Drains get removed  once the fluid produced is less than 25cc/24 hours, 2-3 days on a row. Time? Never the same among patients. Based in past experience in patients like you: about 7-9 days. 
Be encouraged!!!
Dr. Cardenas 

How long are Tummy Tuck drains usually in for?

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.  Please have reasonable expectations.  Together you will make a plan.


Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Drains and seromas

Hi, thank you for your question. In my practice after a TT that is most often done along with a lipo that drains are left until 5-6 days after . This will depend on how much liquid you produce in 24 hours . Ideally to remove them when they produce less than 50 cc in 24 hrs .

Derby Sang Caputo, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 62 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.