Do all breast reductions require drains?

Why some doctors use drains and some don't? I am looking to get a reduction. size 34G, have been approved by insurance.

Doctor Answers 8

Do all breast reductions require drains?

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The easy answer to this is no!

Drains can be sore and can be a route for infection to enter the breast. They do not always prevent haematomas but meticulous haemostasis (stopping any bleeding) will prevent that.

For these reasons I have not used drains for over 15 years and not once regretted the change in practice.

Cambridge Plastic Surgeon


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Drains are not required for my patients when getting a breast reduction.  I stopped using drains about 10 years ago. It depends on the surgeon and their preference.  Make sure to go to a board certified plastic surgeon.   Good luck!

Andrew T. Cohen, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Breast Reduction with/without drains

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The use of drains in breast reduction surgery varies with individual plastic surgeons. The more extensive the reduction, the more likely the surgeon will utilize drains.  The fluid generated in the breasts after surgery can be absorbed by the body or removed by drains.  Both methods are used with excellent results. This should be discussed with the surgeon you have chosen to do your surgery.

Robert C. Bledsoe, Jr., MD
Grapevine Plastic Surgeon

Breast Reduction -- do I need a drain?

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In my own practice I usually do not use drains in a breast reduction, but many doctors do. I tell my patients that if I feel I need a drain I will put one in, but it is quite rare that I do. Because of the size of your reduction your surgeon may be more inclined to leave a drain. 

Adam Tattelbaum, MD
Washington DC Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 115 reviews

Breast reductions and Drains

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That's a great question. There are a variety of reasons that a plastic surgeon may decide to place a drain in a breast reduction. In your case, if your breast size is large at baseline and depending on the amount of breast tissue that needs to be removed for insurance coverage- there will be quite a lot of tissue excised and the remaining tissue needs to be re-arranged. As our bodies heal, normal fluid that our bodies produce is released- if this fluid doesn't get absorbed as quickly by your body- the fluid will pool inside the space around where the breast reduction was performed. This extra fluid can place pressure on the closure and this can lead to wound healing problems or the incision spreading open. I personally use drains on some of my patients- it really does depend on the amount of breast tissue that I remove and it is patient specific. Unfortunately there is never one correct answer and it really does depend on the patient and the situation. The downside of drains is they can be uncomfortable- but sometimes it may be the better and safer thing to do depending on your situation. Hopefully that answers your question. Good Luck with your surgery!

Helen Perakis, MD
Nanuet Plastic Surgeon

Do all breast reductions require drains?

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Hey Polo12.  To answer your question, it really is doctor preference.  The drains are used to help extract fluids that you body produces post surgery.  I do not use drains for my breast reductions.  I have never had an issue with not using them and my patients love the fact that I do not.  A determining factor for some doctors is 'how oozy the patient may be on the operating table?'  If a patient produces more fluid than necessary, a drain would need to be placed.  What you do not want post surgery is that fluid to build up in the breast or at the incision site.  This requires 'tapping out' and draining, which leads to additional clinic visits.  There are several operations that I like to use drains for however a breast reduction is not one of them.  

Shelby Brantley, MD
Jackson Plastic Surgeon

Do all breast reductions require drains?

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Thank you for the question and congratulations on your decision to proceed with breast reduction surgery; it is one of the most patient pleasing operations we perform.

The use of drains  for breast reduction surgery is surgeon  dependent ( not “mandatory”).

Keep in mind, that careful selection of your plastic surgeon will be the most important decision you make. I would not suggest that you select a plastic surgeon based on the criteria of: drains or no drains technique utilized.  Instead, I would make sure that your selected plastic surgeon is a board-certified plastic surgeon who can demonstrate lots of examples of achieving the types of outcomes you will be pleased with. 

I hope this, and the attached link (dedicated to breast reduction surgery concerns), helps.  Best wishes

Breast reduction

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Thanks for your question. Personally I do not use drains but I am aware that there are a number of plastic surgeons who still use drains. Very occasionally if patients are high risk of a haematoma or on blood thinning medications I may consider drains. 

Gary L. Ross, MBChB, FRCS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 177 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.