What is the Longest Drain Tubes Can Be Kept in Post Op Tummy Tuck?

It's been 30 days post op tummy tuck and lipo, my abdominal were also tightened. I had two drain tubes and one was removed 2weeks after surgery. The magic number is 25 CC to be removed at least that's my Dr preference. Well I still have the left drain tube and the fluids are still 30cc it doesn't seem to be coming down. I do nearly any activity, I wear my garment as I should. If I allow this drain tube to be removed will I develop fluid pocket, & How long can I continue to have the drain tube?

Doctor Answers 7

Drains and issues

The problem you have is a tough one. If you take the drain out too early, you may develop a seroma. If you leave it in too long you may get an infection.  Your doctor will have to  make the decision with you.

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Tummy tuck drain

There is no rule book on drains, but the "magic number" of 25-30cc in 24hours is pretty well accepted. I may be inclined to remove the drain, maintain compression over the site and possibly limit activity for a few days, but your PS will have to make the call in your case. Best of luck.

Andrew Stewart, MD
Charleston Plastic Surgeon
3.8 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

Drains in almost a month after tummy tuck

Five days is about right for a drain if needed before it outstays its welcome. They can become a two way street and allow the fluid out, but bacteria and infection in. There is no magic number and low drainage is best, but after 30 days it might be best for the drain to go.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

What is the Longest Drain Tubes Can Be Kept in Post Op Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

You will find that every surgeon as a different “protocol” regarding the use of drains. Some do not use drains. Therefore, for the most accurate information you should ask your surgeon how he/she typically handles drain removal.  In my practice,  I removed tummy tuck drains  when their output  is sufficiently low enough; average 1 to 2 weeks after surgery.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,486 reviews

How long can the drains stay in post Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for your question.  Drains are typically removed when there is less than 30cc in the drain for 24 hours.  In most cases, the first drain comes out by day 7 and the second drain by day 14.  Note that the drainage may increase after the first couple of days and the patient moves about more.  Each Board Certified Plastic Surgeon is different.  Best to share your thoughts with them, and together you will make a plan. 

Jeffrey J. Roth, MD, FACS
Las Vegas Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

What is the Longest Drain Tubes Can Be Kept in

The usual standard is 30 cc/day. But once we get out well beyond the normal 7 days or less there are no clear guidelines. At 30 cc I would take the remaining drain out. Yes, there is a chance of seroma development, but we are always balancing benefits and risks.

Thank you for your question, best wishes. 

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

Drains and TT

Most patients get TT drains out in 7-10 days. I never leave a drain for more than 6 weeks. If your drain has been in place for two weeks then I might consider injecting doxycycline into the drain to scar down the pocket. Ask your PS and see what they suggest. Best of luck. Dr K

Mahlon Kerr, MD, FACS
Austin Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 216 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.