Drains after Tummy Tuck

Drains are commonly used for Tummy Tuck Surgery

This article describes the post operative experience of having drains in place.

Description of the drains

The drains use vary somewhat, but the most common drains have either a canal along a tube pattern or holes along a slender hollow piece of tubing.  At the end of the tubing which is outside the body is a suction bulb.  The suction bulb of the drain is placed in a squeezed down position and sealed; thus providing negative pressure.  These are closed drains as opposed to drains which are open to the air.  Blake drains is one type of drain and the other type of drain is none as a Jackson Pratt drain – but these are technical terms usually reserved for the surgeon to communicate with the rest of the team.

Usage of the drains

These drains with bulbs at the end (sometimes they are affectionately called grenades) are placed under the skin of the tummy tuck flap, across the abdomen.  In our Modesto, California practice we are in the routine of using two drains.  And we have the drains come out of separate incisions.  This is separate from the Tummy Tuck incision as a strategy to avoid infection.  The tubes of the drains are sutured securely to the skin.

Reason for the drains

The body normally tends to collect fluid – sometimes called seroma.  This seroma gets in the way of healing and creates unfavorable contours.  Thus the drains are used to drain away the seroma which the body normal creates.  Sometimes the drains are also used to indicate if there is any postoperative bleeding after tummy tuck surgery.

Removal of the surgical drains

In our Modesto, California Plastic Surgery practice, Dr. Tammy Wu has instructed her patients to record their daily outputs.  She uses less than 30 cc’s per day of drainage fluid to be a possible indication for removal.  She usually considers removing one drain at a time.  During this post operative period after the tummy tuck surgery, patients are in close contact with Dr. Tammy Wu, Modesto Plastic Surgeon.  The drains are removed in the office.  Most patients report minimal discomfort, and are usually glad that they are out.

How long are surgical drains in place?

The time varies tremendously between individuals as to how long the drains are in place.  Sometimes they are in for 1 week, and other times they are in for a month.  During this time period, we usually consider orally taken antibiotics.

Dr. Tammy Wu & Dr. Calvin Lee.   Surgical Artistry, Modesto, CA.   www.SurgeryToday.com (209) 551-1888

Dr. Tammy Wu & Dr. Calvin Lee.
Surgical Artistry, Modesto, CA.
(209) 551-1888

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About Calvin Lee, MD

I'm a board certified general surgeon who is married to a board certified plastic surgeon (Dr. T. Tammy Wu). Together, we founded Surgical Artistry in 2006 in Modesto, CA. I arrived in Modesto in 2003 and originally worked as a general and trauma surgeon. I now have a practice focused on Acupuncture, Botox, Fillers, and Veins. My wife's practice is broad based plastic surgery which includes Tummy Tuck, Breast Augmentation, Breast Lift, Liposuction, Cosmetic Eye Lid and Eye Brow Surgeries, Face Lift, Neck Lift, etc. I was originally from New York. New York City in fact. I went to College at Brown University. Then I continued there for Medical School for a total of 8 years. I did the initial portion of my surgery residency at Case Western Reserve then continued on at Southern Illinois University where I was able to join my wife in her first choice plastic surgery program. My office telephone number is (209) 551-1888 if you want an appointment. Disclaimer: Please see your physician in person for specific medical advice, this webpage is intended for information, not advice directed towards you.