Sick from Drainage Tubes, What Was Wrong with Me?

I had three drains after my mommy makeover. Two for breasts (augmentation) one for my tummy tuck, and a pain pump. My Dr. removes all of these two days after surgery. I was feeling sooo horrible by day two, I thought I was dying. I barely made it to the drs. felt I wanted to go to the e.r. I was so miserable, that I didn't care if someone cut my arm off. My Dr. took the drains out as fast as he could and I felt so much better after. Why did this happen? I'm scared of future surgeries now

Doctor Answers 8

Small drainage tubes

Usually after a tummy tuck or mommy makeover, small drainage tubes are placed to help drain out the healing fluid that the body accumulates.  These drains are essential for preventing this fluid from building up causing potential inflammation and infection.  Unfortunately, these drainage tubes can cause skin irritation, nerve irritation or rarely infections.  All three of these could account for the symptoms that you describe and without having seen you personally I cannot tell you which one of the three it is.  The important thing for you to know is that your reaction to the tubes this time is not a predictor for your reaction to further surgeries.  I am glad to hear that removing the drains made you feel better and I hope that this will not discourage you from considering future procedures.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 135 reviews

Sick From Drainage Tubes

   Removal of drainage tubes after tummy tuck may give some relief, but the drains typically do not cause a tremendous amount of discomfort when inside the tummy.

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 496 reviews

Sick from Drainage Tubes?

I can offer no explanation. It makes little sense why removing them would remove your symptoms. Most of us have used hundreds or thousands of drains, and at least I have hear no similar stories.

Glad you are better. Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Pain related to drainage tubes following breast augmentation and an abdominoplasty

It does seem unlikely that you had this degree of pain purely from drainage tubes. They can be uncomfortable and sometimes cause a pulling sensation.  If you felt the pain got better as soon as the drains were removed then this most likely was the problem.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Pains with drains

I have no idea why the drains caused you so much pain.  It is very unusual.  Perhaps you have a low pain threshold.

Talmage Raine MD FACS

Talmage J. Raine, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Mommy Make Over

 A “Mommy Make Over” of a Breast Augmentation and a Tummy Tuck is a big deal. Do not let anybody fool you. It can take many weeks to recover after such a procedure as it is a major stress on your body. Your surgeon should guide you through the process.
Nobody likes drains after surgery. But, sometimes they are required. I hope things improve with time. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Gary R. Culbertson, MD
Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Drains don't make people sick.

The presence of drains don't make patients sick, at least physiologically.  I am not sure why their removal caused you to feel better.  As regards future surgery, most operations don't involve the use of drains.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

Sick from Drainage Tubes used during Mommy Makeover Surgery?

I'm sorry to hear about the stressful situation you have experienced. As you can imagine, it is not possible for online consultants to determine exactly what was going on to cause you to feel so “horrible”. I think your plastic surgeon is in the best position to provide you with a “diagnosis”  based on the more complete clinical picture available to him/her.

 Generally speaking, drainage tubes ( unless infected) do not cause patients to be “sick”.

 Best wishes for an otherwise uneventful recovery.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 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.