How Does the No Drain Technique After a TT Effect Recovery?

I am scheduled for a TT with MR on August 21. My PS started not using drains about 8 to 9 months ago. He says he has not had any complications. Almost all the ladies stories about TTs included at least 2 drains. I don't want the drains of course I know they are necessary but sound like a pain. I am not sure though of not having them. How does that affect recovery. The PS explained how it works but I would love some more insight from other PSs.

Doctor Answers 7

Only your surgeon can explain his techniques and the reasoning behind them

Hi there-

There are surgeons who use drains every time, surgeons who never use them, and surgeons who use them some of the time...

This detail is not as important as who you are letting do your surgery. Provided you have chosen an excellent surgeon who you chose for the right reasons, you should follow all of their advice to the letter, and allow them to guide you along the path to your goal.

Only your surgeon knows what has worked for him in the past- even if it is different than what other surgeons do.

Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

No drains for TT

    I have stopped using drains 10 years ago and both me and my patients are very happy. The goal of the drains is to prevent fluid accumulation under the skin, so that the skin will be able to attach to the underlying muscles. However, the drains are uncomfortable to the patients, they can cause infection if kept in for too long and finally, they are usually removed within a week when the scar under the skin is still too weak. Fluid can build up if the patients are not careful and can cause disruption of the skin adherence to the muscles. The quilting sutures technique prevents the fluid build up, the sutures stay for 2 months and have no discomfort or infection associated with them. Be sure to select an experienced board certified plastic surgeon.

                   Best of luck,

                                                 Dr Widder


Shlomo Widder, MD
McLean Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

No drain tummy tuck

I am so glad you asked this question, because I have become very excited about this procedure in the last year and hope that more surgeons start using the no drain technique for their own patients. I started using the progressive tension suture technique for my abdominoplasties last year and have been extremely happy with the results. Having drains after a tummy tuck really is not that big of a deal, but it is the one thing that patients consistently complain about. I did not allow my patients to shower until their drains were removed (I am not sure this is necessary, but it was my policy nonetheless) in the first 9 years of operating. This seemed to be reason enough to try the no-drain technique. But as I started using the quilting sutures without drains, I have seen another advantage to the technique:  I believe that there is less tension on the abdominoplasty incision and as a result, a better scar. I don't think that there is any quicker recovery other than you feel more normal more quickly because you are not dragging two drain bulbs around with you. I have not seen any seromas since I started the technique which was not the case when I removed drains too early with my old technique of simply closing the incision. Best of luck with your surgery - I am sure you will be thrilled with your results.

Wm. Todd Stoeckel, MD
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 84 reviews

Drains for tummy tucks

I use drains. I think this is an issue that some patients fixate on. It isn't a pain to measure drainage. You participate in your own care and this signals to all how you are healing. The drains are removed several days postop. If this reduces complications, then it should be welcomed. Every plastic surgeon has his own regimen with which he is comfortable. Best of luck. If you are happy with your plastic surgeon, that is the most important thing.

Robert L. Kraft, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 40 reviews

Tummy Tuck Without Drains

Traditionally, all plastic surgeons have used drains after a tummy Tuck.  The reason has been that by the nature of the surgery, a large open space will exist under the tummy skin until full healing occurs.  The drains are removed anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks after surgery.


However, this conventional approach has changed over the past 10 years with the thought that if this large open space beneath the tummy skin is closed at the time of surgery, then fluid collection should not be physically possible.  The technique requires internal quilting sutures to close the open space.  The procedure is quite starightforward and your surgeon would likely be happy to explain it to you in detail. 


Over the past 41/2 years, I've done over 220 tummy tucks without drains. No fluid collection.  Early ability to shower and more postoperative comfort.  The downside: your surgeon has to work a little longer in the operating room to close the space (20-30 minutes)

Ramin Behmand, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Drains with a Tummy Tuck

I always use 2 drains for my tummy tucks. Every doctor has their own recommendations and preferences for surgery. I feel that the complication rates are less when we use drains.

Leo Lapuerta, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Drains after a tummy tuck

Since tummy tuck techniques vary, you may be okay without drains.  However, I routinely use them with good results and minimal complications.

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.