Is It Time to Take out the Last Drain Tube from a Tummy Tuck Done 30 Days Ago?

I had a full tummy tuck one month ago and I have one of two drains remaining. The color from the tube is pink with bits of clear. It has clogged once with a very small clot or protein chunk; not sure. I am now draining about 25 to 30cc's over a 24 hour period. The other drain was pulled one week prior with around 15cc's over a 24 hour period. I am worried about seromas and potential issues stemming from this fluid. Is it time to pull based on volume and serum color? Thank you.

Doctor Answers 6

When to remove the drain after an abdominoplasty

The general rule is for the drainage to be less than 30 cc over a 24 hour period prior to removing the drain.  However some times the drain just makes the body make more fluid.  Your plastic surgeon will need to use his best judgment as to the timing of removing the drain.

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Removal of Drain after Abdominoplasty

As a rule of thumb the drain following abdominoplasty removed at the discretion of surgeon but most commonly when the drainage is lees than 20 cc in last 24 Hrs.Sometimes it is left longer to avoid seroma.Your doctor must have a feason for delaying the removal,possibly  it is still draining too much fluid .Your best course is to follow your doctor's advise.I f the drain is left too long it may produce a sinus.Remember,drain is a two edged sword.As it helps collected fluid to come out,it may also increase the chance of infection.

Suman K. Das, MD
Jackson Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Duration of drain

There is no rule when to remove the drain.  I personally remove drains when each drain output is less than 30cc over 24 hour period for two consecutive days.  From your description, your drain seems to be ready to come out.  However, check with your plastic surgeon first.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Is It Time to Take out the Last Drain Tube from a Tummy Tuck Done 30 Days Ago?

     This plan does not seem unreasonable given your description.




Kenneth Hughes, MD Los Angeles, CA

Kenneth B. Hughes, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

Drains after surgery

One month after abdominoplasty, it is very rare to still have a drain left in place.  Most of the time, the drains are pulled out at 1-2 weeks unless you had aggressive liposuction.  Quite often when a drain is left in place too long, it can form a capsule around it and that track can accumulate fluid around it like seroma.  At 30-35 cc / day, it is probably safe to remove the drain.

N. Bill Aydin, MD
Paramus Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews


This is a judgement call by your surgeon. I generally like the output to be below 20cc per 24 hour period. On the other hand some drains can become incorporated with scar tissue and difficult to remove if left in for a long time. You obviosly chose your Doctor for a reason so trust his or her judgement.

Jeffrey K. Scott, MD
Sarasota Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 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.