Was it Normal to use drains for my standard BA? (photo)

I am trying to decided whether or not to be upset with my PS about his insistence on the use of drains for my standard Natrelle 410 breast augmentation (first time/no lift/drains in separate armpit incisions). The drains caused a ton of irritation and severe pain, especially where they protruded into my ribs at the bottom. I let him know about these issues and begged for early removal, but he refused to take them out until day 4 in spite of them being clogged anyhow. Is all of this normal?

Doctor Answers 8


There is absolutely no evidence to suggest drains increase infection but they are used by some surgeons and not by others. In various surveys of plastic surgeons it was found 70% did, 30% did not. They can cause usually slight discomfort but are usually removed the next day . 

Not normal

Drains are not necessary for a standard first time breast augmentation.  They increase the risk of implant infection in this setting and provide no benefit.

Gary Lawton, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 135 reviews

Drain post breast augmentation

In my practice, I rarely use drains for breast augmentation.  Like every thing in life, there are exceptions of course.  My suggestion to you is NOT to be upset. It adds to the stress of you healing process.  Each surgeon encounters different situations and yours made a decision to use drains based on certain criteria that he or she may have had.  Hard for us on this forum to guess, but if he or she is board certified by the ABPS, I am certain that there was some concerning issue as it pertained to your surgery.  Enjoy your transformation and be patient.  I hope this helps.Dr Vasisht 

Bhupesh Vasisht, MD
Voorhees Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 83 reviews

Drains after primary BA

It is not routine practice to leave drains in place after primary breast augmentation regardless of incision choice, breast implant size/shape. With that said, no one on this page was there for your surgery and does not know the complete details of what occurred during your surgery.

Breast augmentation

While it is not common for the use of drains for breast augmentation, they are sometimes called for.  It is best to discuss your surgeon the reason he chose to use them in your case.

Camille Cash, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews


If you had issues with bleeding/fluid, that may have necessitated the use of drains for you. When in place, 4 days is not considered a long time to have them. You will need to ask your Plastic Surgeon directly about the specifics of your care.
All the best

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Breast augmentation

Thank you for your question.This is something you need to discuss with your plastic surgeon. It isn’t common to use drains with a breast augmentation but that doesn’t it isn’t sometimes necessary. Your surgeon obviously felt it was necessary in your case and you have the right to ask why you needed them placed. Best of luck in your recovery.
Sincerely, James Fernau, MD, FACS
Board Certified ENT
Board Certified Plastic Surgery
Member of ASPS, ASAPS, ISAPS, The Rhinoplasty Society, AAFPRS, OTO/HNS, ASLMS, International Federation for Adipose Therapeutics & Science

James Fernau, MD, FACS
Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Drains are rare in primary breast augmentation

While drains are rare in primary breast augmentation sometimes they are necessary.  It is best to speak to your surgeon as only he knows exactly why he would have needed drains for you.  I use them far less than 1% of the time in breast augmentation however sometimes it is needed.  From your photos you appear a bit bruised so possibly he ran into more bleeding than usual and felt it was important to use a drain to get you a nice result.  Better to use a drain than have to go back in a few days later to remove a collection of blood.  I would think your surgeon probably was doing everything he feels needed to get you a great result and wouldn't put in a drain unless there was a good reason as we all understand that no patient "wants" a drain.  Good luck, and I hope the remainder of your recovery goes better!

Evan Sorokin, MD
Cherry Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 76 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.