Seroma After Tummy Tuck and Drains
Great question about drains and Tummy Tucks. First of all, serums are fluid collections that can occur after a Tummy Tuck. Drains remove the fluid that can otherwise accumulate and cause a seroma. Surgeons who use drains leave them in place until the fluid drainage tapers off. After those drains are removed (anywhere from a few days to 2 weeks or more after surgery) a seroma can still occur.
But, drains are usually not needed in Tummy Tucks. Although I used them in the past, for more than a year I have abandoned the use of drains, and have been very pleased not to have any serums. How is this possible? By adding another internal layer of dissolving stitches between the abdominal wall and the underside of the skin flap. I certainly didn't invent this technique, but I have been delighted to add it to my practice. I believe that is a better way to do a Tummy Tuck, and that it reduces the risks of infection and seromas, as well as being more comfortable for the patient. Best of luck!
A seroma is one of the more common complications after a tummy tuck. Drains do not prevent seromas from forming. A seroma is actually a normal response of the body to a cavity that is created where there usually isn't one. Your body will identify the cavity and fill it with fluid. The downside to a seroma is that it is uncomfortable, it can stretch your recently contoured tissues, and it can become infected. For these reasons, we treat seromas. Taking the drains out does not create the seroma or cause it to happen, but sometimes keeping the drain in for a longer period of time will help to control it and it gives your surgeon options for treatment, such as putting medicine in to the space by using the drain. Drains after a tummy tuck are usually left in for 1-2 weeks, depending on your recovery and your surgeon's preference.