Does this drain site look infected? (Photos)

I'm 6 days post op TT with lipo. I have 2 drains. Drain site #1 is less comfy than the other. There's an odor coming from the area and while it's not horrible, it doesn't smell like anything I'm used to (ruling out lady parts). I've showered several times using Lever 2000 and Betadyne. #1 has some surrounding redness and looks a little crusty at the base. Of course I have a call into my dr but it's a holiday and in the meantime I thought I would survey here with photos. Does it look worrisome?

Doctor Answers 8

Drain site infection?

Based solely on your photo, it looks normal, but the smell is troubling. You are already doing what I would recommend -- seeing your surgeon. Until then, continue to do what you're doing keeping it clean.


Kouros Azar

Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Drain site

It does not appear to be infected, but the odor you mentioned warrants further investigation.  You did the right thing by calling your surgeon since you will both feel better if your concerns and questions are addressed.  In the meantime keep the area clean, which it sounds like you are doing a good job of addressing.

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

Does this look infected?

For my patients we also dab that area with peroxide twice daily (using a q tip) but every surgeon has their recommendations for card of the drain site. Sounds like you are doing the right thing and have called your physician office. I actually think based on your photos those appear normal at 6 days in my opinion. Drains and their site are usually uncomfortable but necessary. Best of Luck. 

Robert Heck, MD, FACS
Columbus Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Infection of Drain Site

I do not use drains any more with this procedure and have switched from pain pumps to Exparel which is a long acting injectable pain medicine like Lidocaine or Marcaine but lasts for three days. This is injected all along the muscle and skin to provide pain relief. This is termed the Pain-less, Drainless Tummy Tuck.

If you go to a doctor who uses #drains, they usually stay in 3-5 days but may be required to remain in longer.

The best thing to do if you question the healthy recovery of your drain site would be to visit your plastic surgeon to have the area examined and make sure that everything is moving along as it should. Good luck.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 110 reviews

Talk to your doctor about the odour

The most worrisome issue here is the odour you describe. A bad odour is a common sign of infection. While you might not have an infection, you should see your surgeon as soon as possible to discuss this issue.

Leila Kasrai, MD, FRCSC
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 66 reviews

Drain site after Tummy tuck

Hi and thank you for your question. Its not uncommon for a drain site to get a little irritated (red). It s hard to tell from your photo for sure, but it looks ok. Best thing is to see and talk with your plastic surgeon to be certain. Best wishes

Leilie Javan, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

Does this drain site look infected?

While the picture does not look concerning, putting a call into the surgeon was the right idea.

Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

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

Tummy Tuck Revision/Tummy Tuck/Abdominoplasty/Liposuction/High Definition Procedures

I appreciate your question.

I would recommend that you discuss your concerns with your surgeon at this time.  Call the office again as someone should be covering the service during the Holiday.

The best way to assess and give true advice would be an in-person exam.

Please see a board-certified plastic surgeon that specializes in aesthetic and restorative plastic surgery.

Best of luck!

Dr. Schwartz

Board Certified Plastic Surgeon


Jaime S. Schwartz, MD, FACS
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 93 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.