Drain still in 7 weeks post op. Any suggestions?

I am 7 weeks post op abdominoplasty and still have 1 drain in. My first drain was removed at 17 days but this drain still is putting out 70-80 cc's per day. I have been in compression 24 hours per day since surgery. My surgeon won't take out till under 45 cc's but it is starting to hurt as one of the sutures broke and is moving a lot even with bandage. Is it safe at this length of time to take out?

Doctor Answers 5

Persistent drainage after abdominoplasty

 I am sorry you're having this problem. Occasionally injecting a small amount of Kenalog into the area can help along with a Medrol dose pack and removing the drain to see if the fluid diminishes. An ultrasound guided needle aspiration by a radiologist is also helpful.
A return to the operating room and removal of the fluid and placing quilting searchers between the  abdominal flap and the abdominal wall is a very definitive solution. Best of luck in your recovery. 

Pittsburgh Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 75 reviews

Drain in for 7 weeks

Thank you for the question. I'm sorry you are having difficulties.  At this point, if you are still having significant drainage, you likely have an area of abdominal skin that has not adhered to the underlying muscle. Fluid is filling this area resulting in the persistent drainage. You likely will need to return to the operating room to address this,

Speak with your surgeon and express your concerns.7 weeks is far too long for a drain to be left in place.

Best Wishes,
Michael Morrissey, MD

J. Michael Morrissey, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Still draining from tummy tuck

In my opinion, with abdominoplasty drainage lasting this long you would probably have what we call a pseudo-bursa. This means that the cavity from which the fluid is coming from has matured in such a way that it will never close off. If you are my patient, I would recommend at this point that we go back to the operating room and remove it. Then placing quilting sutures and another drain, we can hopefully get the drainage to stop. Certainly ask your operating plastic surgeon about this possibility if you're comfortable with it. Good luck.

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 54 reviews


I am sorry you are having a difficult time.  Sometimes medicine can be injected through the drain to help in slowing down the drainage and if this does not work and you are still draining you may have to go back in to surgery to fix the problem.  Speak to your PS about it.

Anh Lee, MD
El Paso Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Tummy tuck

You may have a bursa cavity at this point and removing the drain at this prematurely will most likely lead to a seroma. Unfortunately you may need some type of surgical intervention to treat this at this point. It is best that you discuss this with your surgeon.

Mark Deutsch, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 32 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.