Opinions about Tummy tuck with drains vs without?

Doctor Answers 5


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Thank you for your question. Your question has been a debated topic at many of the plastic surgery meetings and there are many varied opinions. I have performed many tummy tucks in my 20 year career. I believe that most patients get a better result when drains are utilized during a tummy tuck. Drains help prevent fluid collections called seromas. There are times when a drain is not required. Drains are not evil and should be used when required. I also perform many revision tummy tucks. Many are due to a less then adequate result when drains were not placed. I believe any PS should do what is best for the patient and not utilize " the drainless TT " as some type of selling point for an operation. I hope this helps and best of luck.

About No Drain Tummy Tucks

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Thank you for your question.

During a tummy tuck surgery, there is space between the abdominal wall and the overlying fat and skin (the abdominal flap). The body will do what it usually does during the healing process, produce fluid, if nothing is done to close this space. Because there is nothing to confine the fluid from accumulating, a seroma can develop in this space. In other words, the tissue produces fluid more quickly than it can reabsorb.

Negative suction drains are placed in spaces like this to get rid of the fluid and create suction between the tissue planes. There is a way, however, to eliminate this space without using uncomfortable drainage tubes. Dr. Patel utilizes progressive tension sutures inside the tissues to close off the space and relieve tension on the last surgical closure. This results into less pain, less discomfort and less tension. Also, there will be better scarring with potentially minimizes infection risk.

We have successfully used progressive tension sutures during abdominoplasty instead of surgical drains, with a lower seroma rate than is generally thought to occur with tummy tucks and drains. With this method, the seroma rate is close to zero and you cannot beat that approach. Best of luck!

Dhaval M. Patel

Double board certified

Plastic Surgeon

Hoffman Estates




Dhaval M. Patel, MD
Hoffman Estates Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 100 reviews

Tummy tuck with drains vs without

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Thank you for your question.  A no drain abdominoplasty can safely be performed using the progressive tension suture technique.  If this technique is not performed, drains should be placed along with Topifoam and a garment with an abdominal binder. Best wishes in your upcoming surgery!


James Fernau, MD, FACS

Board Certified ENT

Board Certified Plastic Surgery

Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Opinions about Tummy tuck with drains vs without?

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Thank you for your question.  This is a highly debated issue on realself.com and other forums but this honestly should be one of the lesser decisions you look into when choosing the procedure and surgeon.  Each surgeon uses their own personal experience with tummy tucks and drains to tailor it to your case.  In my practice I routinely perform quilting sutures to help limit seroma formation but often leave one drain in as a safety precaution or if liposuction is performed at the same time.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

To Drain Or Not

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Performing a tummy tuck with a drain or without is acceptable.  It depends on techniques used as well as surgeons experience and preference.  In my practice I perform drainless tummy tucks using progressive tension sutures or TissueGlu internal adhesive. I also perform tummy tucks with drains.  It often will depend on how much liposuction is performed.  I would suggest discussing this with your surgeon and having them help you make your decision.  Good luck.  

Gaurav Bharti, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 124 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.