Question about drainage from tummy tuck drain.

I had a tummy tuck with lipo and I seem to be healing fine however I had one drain and still have the drain. It is still draining about 50cc still . I am at day 14. I"m i a rare case that I could have this drain it for 3 to 4 weeks, also my concern is my scar healing over the drain tubing.

Doctor Answers 5

Drains or No Drains for Tummy Tucks

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Your personal  board certified plastic surgeon would be the best one for a specific recommendation. This is a bit unusual at this late stage to require a drain but if you had  significant liposuction done at the same time, that may explain the need for drains a bit longer. I customize whether or not I use drains and often my decision is to use drains when liposuction is done at the same time or if an extensive tummy tuck is required, for example after massive weight loss. In those situations I have found an increased incidence of fluid collection called a seroma, or prolonged swelling delaying the final result by weeks whereas use of a temporary drain seems to prevent this from happening. Those that do not use drains in those circumstances usually rely on extra "quilting stitches" internally which lengthens the procedure and external garments that may not be comfortable and may apply too much pressure on the lower skin flaps decreasing their blood flow with delayed healing or other problems. The purpose  drains are to remove excess fluid such as tumescent lipo fluid, irrigation, local anesthesia, blood/serum, etc so that the skin side can touch the underlying muscles to begin the healing process. I therefore do not use compression garments or binders  when drains are in place and sometimes not at all especially for #minitummytucks . This is much more comfortable for patients. 

Drainage from my tummy tuck

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Two weeks is a long time to have a drain.  However, it is better than the alternative of having to come back to the office for needle aspiration/drainage.  One drain for a tummy tuck is not a lot.  I place two in the front and one in the back.  Though drainless surgeries are performed, it is very difficult to avoid office drainage if any substantial liposuction is done during the case (enough to be worth having surgery in the first place).  Additionally, the fluid that is removed with the drain contains clotted blood and other by-products of the surgery that lead to unnecessary inflammation that can simply be avoided by having the drains.  That being said, at some point the drain tube has to be removed because a tract can form leading to long term issues.  Talk to your plastic surgeon and have them address your concerns.Best wishes.

Shayne Webb, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 49 reviews

Drainage after a tummy tuck

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Thank you for the question. It is difficult to fully evaluate your situation without an in-person exam. Depending on the exact nature of your procedure, drains may stay in for 1-2 weeks. It is not uncommon for patients to experience seromas (i.e., postoperative fluid collections) that may require drains to be kept in slightly longer. The fact that you still have one drain 2 weeks after the procedure is not in itself a great cause for concern; however, it is always a good idea to make sure that your surgeon is aware of your concerns. An in-person examination would be the best way to assess your needs and obtain a reliable medical advice.

Michael M. Omidi, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 121 reviews

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Question about drainage from tummy tuck drain.

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I also have a patient after extended Full TT with 1 rain draining over 50 cc's/day after 3 weeks. It is a rare occurrence but just wait it out.

Post-Op Drain Healing from Tummy Tuck

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I do not use drains any more with this procedure and have switched from pain pumps to Exparel  which is a long acting injectable pain medicine like Lidocaine or Marcaine but lasts for three days. This is injected all along the muscle and skin to provide pain relief.   This is termed the Pain-less, Drainless Tummy Tuck. If you go to a doctor who uses #drains, they usually stay in 3-5 days but may be required to remain in longer. The best thing to do would be to check in directly with your surgeon to make sure that it really should have remained in this long. If you are uncomfortable in any way then it would be a good idea to see your surgeon in person to confirm if the drain is ready for removal.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 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.