Surgical Drains Following Tummy Tuck Surgery

Drains are frequently used in the postoperative period in abdominoplasty patients to minimize the potential for seroma formation. Drains are usually left in place for 7 to 14 days following surgery. They are usually removed when drainage drops below 25 cc per 24 hours.

The management of surgical drainage varies from patient to patient. Each patient has a unique surgical anatomy and surgical procedures are modified for each individual patient for these reasons.

In addition, each surgeon has his or her own drain protocols. In some patients, drainage may persist for longer periods of time, especially if patients are physically active. Patients are usually eager to get their drains removed and sometimes pressure their surgeon to remove them.

When drains are removed to early, there may be an increased complication rate. This might result in seroma formations with resultant infection and wound breakdown. Under these circumstances seromas may require multiple aspirations or replacement of the drain. Although drains seem to be a major nuisance, they serve as a very important function in most abdominoplasty patients.