How long after hematoma from breast augmentation does it take for drainage tube blood color to turn clear?

hematoma the day after ba that broke through my infamammary incision. Dr squeezed out hematoma & stitched it up. I leaked dark blood from stitches so 5 days later had another surgery to remove implant clean everything up. I now have drainage tubes With 40 cc of dark red blood/day for the past three days. Do I need to wait until the blood turns to a more clear color before removing tubes? Or just wait until the blood output is less and less? What happens to the leftover dark blood in my body?

Doctor Answers 8

Hematoma after breast augmentation

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Thank you for sharing your experience. In general, I recommend removing as much old blood as much possible, either surgically or by drain tubes. The duration of tubes in the body need to be weighted against the increased incidence of infection. Much of the old blood is also in the soft tissue already and can not be suctioned out. The ultimate concern is that there is higher possibility of capsule contracture as a result of hematoma. 
The management of post-op hematoma is highly dependent on the individual situation and you should work with your surgeon to get it resolved ASAP. Best of luck. 

Albuquerque Plastic Surgeon

Hematoma and drain after augmentation

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Dear reneec1,
Your surgeon is best to advise you on the removal criteria for the drain. It may not lighten to clear before removal, but hopefully the surgical drainage cleaned things up significantly compared to what you were seeing before. Your body will resorb any residual blood, but hopefully the vast majority was cleaned out to reduce your risk of a capsular contracture.
Good luck,

Stacey Folk, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Drain removal post hematoma

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I am sorry to hear about your hematoma, but since every surgeon has his or her own unique protocol, you are going to need to speak with your surgeon as to the proper time to remove the drains. 
My best,
Dr. Sheila Nazarian
@drsheilanazarian on Instagram

Sheila S. Nazarian, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 56 reviews

How long after hematoma from breast augmentation does it take for drainage tube blood color to turn clear?

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 I am sorry to hear about the complication you have experienced. Timing for drain removal will vary from  one practice to another. In my practice, I removed drains depending on both volume and consistency of the drain output.   As you can imagine, this timing will vary from one patient to another.  Best wishes for an otherwise smooth recovery and an outcome that you will be pleased with long-term.


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Your doctor will decide when it is time to remove the drains, but most wait until only a certain amount is draining. The small amount that might remain will be slowly absorbed. Please keep all your follow up visits with your doctor.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Volume drainage, fluid characteristics, and duration all are factors in determining drainage tube removal

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I am sorry to hear of the unfortunate events that have arisen following your breast augmentation.  This is an infrequent complication that causes great angst when it arises.  Your narrative describes an appropriate return to the operating room for proper drainage under sterile operative conditions.  Deciding on when to remove drainage tubes is highly subjective and depends on volume, fluid characteristic, and duration.  Every case is unique.  To provided you a general idea, most surgeons will use similar thresholds to decide on tube removal:  drainage volume to be less than 25-30 ml per day, clear straw colored fluid, and duration of drain tubes in place for less than 3-5 days to minimize the risk of infection.  

Once your doctor has removed your drainage tubes, he/she will follow you for the next 12 months to evaluate you for capsular contracture.  By close followup an aggressive implant displacement and massage routine can be implemented to partially offset the risk of capsular contracture arising from the hematoma.  Best of luck to you.

Chen Lee, MD
Montreal Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

How long after hematoma from breast augmentation does it take for drainage tube blood color to turn clear?

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Thank you for your question and I am sorry to hear of your hematoma issues after surgery.  In general drains are removed once the amount of volume drops below a particular number determined by your surgeon.  Over a few days the color should steadily improve until it approaches a "straw" colored pale yellow appearance.  It sounds as if your surgeon correctly took you back to the OR, removed the implant and washed your pocket out. This is important as retained blood can lead to future capsular contracture formation.  40cc/day of dark red blood seems a bit high for a breast augmentation so I would contact your surgeon for an in-person evaluation.  

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

A hematoma of the breast should be surgically drained.

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Expectant treatment of a hematoma has a very high degree of capsular contracture in the future. The proper treatment for a significant hematoma is complete surgical drainage and replacement of the prosthesis.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 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.