Do all doctors use drains for breast reductions?

Hello, I am researching doctors for a breast reduction. My reduction was approved by my insurance. Do most surgeons use drains? The before and after pictures of many breast reductions scare me. Does it take a while for the breast to look normal?

Doctor Answers 9

Are drains used in breast reduction

A drain is not a requirement for breast reduction surgery but is used by surgeons selectively.  Scientific studies have not proven the advantage of drains, but, in my opinion there is no harm in using them. Rarely would I personally use a drain for breast reduction surgery and having performed thousands of these procedures my experience is consistent with the scientific studies.

Virginia Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Breast reduction

It does take some time for the scars to settle and the shape can be different postop depending on the technique used. I personally don't use drains as a rule but there are occasional exceptions. I would make sure you consult with a PS who has experience in breast reduction who can show you results over various time frames so you can make an empowered decision to proceed. 

Gary L. Ross, MBChB, FRCS
Manchester Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 138 reviews

Do all doctors use drains for breast reductions

Hello, thanks for your questions.

Not all doctors use drains for breast reduction surgery. I personally don't because it hasn't made a significant difference in patient recovery of lowering complication. Most patients hate the drains as they get in the way and are difficult to manage.

If I could change one thing about breast reduction surgery is the appearance and location of the scars. There are different techniques to minimize the appearance of the scars, but each patient will have a different experience..."your mileage will vary".

Nonetheless, our breast reduction patients seem to be the happiest as they feel the physical benefits of removing the excess , heavy and dense breast tissue.

The breast do look a little off at first and then settle into shape a few months after.

Kenneth Bermudez, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Drains for breast reductions

Many surgeons (including myself) do not use drains for breast reductions but some plastic surgeons do use them.  Best wishes!  

Maida Parkins, MD
Milwaukee Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Breast reduction drains

Breast reduction patients have a high satisfaction rate because they get relief from their heavy breasts and also look better. Most surgeons use drains but most are also removed the next day. So, even if a drain is used, it is just one night, and usually if you stay overnight, the drain is removed before you go home. I would recommend concentrating on the long term result of less back and neck pain as well as a better breast shape and the lift you get with the reduction. Have a consultation with an experienced, board certified plastic surgeon to have all your questions answered.

Do all doctors use drains for breast reductions?

This is a very good question for your surgeon. We do not use drains for breast reduction though we do know of some surgeons who do. It may take several weeks for your breast to settle in after reduction, however patients do very well with the procedure and the satisfaction rate is very high.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Breast reduction

Hello and thank you for the question. The surgery is customized for each patient. It will depend on the amount of tissue removed, the need of a free nipple graft, the health of the patient, etc...

Generally, I do NOT use drains for breast reductions. Some doctors do, but most of the other plastic surgeons I know do not generally use drains for breast reductions. 

Yes, it will look scary at first, but it does take time to heal. It will be around 6 months before the late stage of healing is achieved. It will be around 1-2 weeks before you can return to normal work. Longer if your job is strenuous.

You should have several consultations with board certified plastic surgeons before making any final decisions. 

As always, best to be healthy, no smoking, and make sure any health concerns you have are managed by your primary care md. 

Best to you.

Bennett Yang, MD
Rockville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Drains and Breast Reduction

Thank you for your question.

Drain use is surgeon specific.  I personally do not use drains except in the most unusual of cases.  Antibiotics is also an area where surgeons differ with the available evidence not supporting prolonged antibiotics.

I typically tell patients it is at least 3 months before we can begin to assess the final result.

Best Dr. L

Andre Levesque, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Do all doctors use drains for breast reductions?

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

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.