Breast implant removal, why do some woman get drains and others not.

I just had my pre op 2 days ago, my surgeon told me I will be receiving drains. He kinda rushed me in and out of his office and I didn't really have time to ask him any questions. So I was wondering why do some woman get them and some do not? Also he told me to expect to have sag and dimpling. The first consult I had with him where he actually looked at my breasts he said I didn't need a lift and at my post op he said I will have dimpling and be saggy and need drains. I'm a little confused

Doctor Answers 11

Breast implant removal, why do some woman get drains and others not.

If your implants are removed and the entire capsule is also taken, then there is a large raw surface which will ooze and accumulate fluid. This fluid and be very problematic, therefor drains are placed to remove the fluid and control the shrinkage, shape and position of the breast tissue as it heals.

Stephen M Davis, MD, FACS

Green Hills Plastic Surgery

#Explant #BreastImplantRemoval - why do some woman get drains and others not?

To a certain degree it's surgeon preference.  Some surgeons use drains all, or nearly all, of the time, some almost never and some variably.  In general, the greater the space (cavity) left behind and/or anticipated drainage, the more likely that a drain will be used.  I use them pretty often, even if only for a few days.  But for that and other issues you've raised, it may be appropriate for you to schedule one more visit with your plastic surgeon to make sure you understand what is expected from this surgery.  It's a lot to go through and you should feel comfortable with this, or at least to the greatest extent possible.  I'd recommend that you contact your surgeon's office and ask to go over things again, including the drains and likelihood of needing or wanting a breast lift.  I hope that this helps and good luck.  Dr. Alan Engler, Member of #RealSelf500

Drains are generally not required after uncomplicated breast implant removal.

Uncomplicated breast implant removal can usually be done with local anesthesia possibly with a bit a sedation. If silicone gel implants have failed the capsule gently is removed. In this particular situation the surgeon may choose to use a drain. Generally they are only in for a day or so.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 32 reviews

Implant removal

Every surgeon has their own criteria on the use of drains and these can vary widely.  In my practice, if a significant amount of capsule is removed, then drains are placed due to the large area of raw tissue that is left behind that can create fluid.  Best wishes, Dr. T. 

Drains after explant

Some plastic surgeons always used drains . Others never use them. Some use them from time to time. The reason for using drains is that there is a space created in the body when the implant is removed. If the capsule is removed as well and the space is even larger and more prone to oozingand bleeding . If there's fluid not removed with drains  the collection can cause pain discomfort scarring and even possible infection As to why your surgeon changed his mind that question is impossible to answer on real self. Possibly as he was thinking about your case he decided to remove more of the capsule which definitely would require drains . The best option if you're still concerned is to schedule another visit and I have all your questions answered 

Andrew Kaczynski, MD
Sacramento Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 106 reviews

Removing breast implants and the use of drains

If you are having a simple implant removal this can be done with local anesthesia (saline-filled implants or intact gels) and does not require a drain. Even if fluid were to build up in the space left by the implant it's easy to take care of with no implant to worry about. If you are having a partial or full capsulectomy along with the implant removal (only needed if the implant is abnormal in some way) then the operation is much more involved and includes increased cost, risk, and recovery. Drains may be indicated because of the higher risk of blood or fluid accumulation. So the first issue is whether a full or partial capsulectomy is required and why. I would also not expect "dimpling and saggy" from a simple implant removal unless it was present before. Implants don't lift the breast when they're put in and they don't cause the breast to sag when they're taken out. The effect is an illusion due to added or removed volume. 

Scott L. Replogle, MD
Boulder Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review

Drains are necessary

For explant surgery, it is almost always best to remove the capsule in its entirety.  This will allow the space to heal.  If you leave the capsule in place, it does not heal.  Fluid can accumulate in the space.  The situation that brings the patient to implant removal will have an affect on the decision.  This is a surgery which requires discussion with the plastic surgeon about the problem, the goals, and the technical concerns.  The body does not re-absorb the capsule.  Revision surgery requires drains because the fluid is going to be generated when you operate on the scar capsule.  If you provide a mechanism for the fluid to be removed (i.e. drains), the risks are lower.  If the fluid accumulates because there were no drains, it will most certainly cause problems in the future.


I would suggest going back to your surgeon and discussing all your concerns. Some doctors use drains routinely and some do not.

Connie Hiers, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Breast implant removal, why do some woman get drains and others not.

The use of drains varies from one surgeon to another.  I generally do use drains during breast implant removal surgery to prevent fluid accumulation in the space where the breast implants used to "live".

 Given your less than optimal experience during your preoperative visit,  I would suggest that you ask for additional time with your plastic surgeon, preferably prior to the day of surgery.  This will be the best time to address potential concerns such as the need for breast lifting… Best wishes for an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

Implant removal

Each surgeon is a bit different and each operation may be a bit different.  Sometimes I drain and sometimes I do not.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 24 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.