5 FAQ About Drains After Tummy Tuck


At Radiance Plastic Surgery, we prioritize your health, safety, and well-being. As experts in abdominoplasty, also known as the tummy tuck, we understand that our patients often have concerns and queries about various aspects of the procedure, especially regarding drains.

Understanding the Role of Drains Post-Tummy Tuck

Drains are essential to the tummy tuck procedure, ensuring patient safety and improved outcomes. Let us explore their crucial functions:

Why are Drains Used After a Tummy Tuck?

Drains play a vital role in post-operative care after a tummy tuck. Their primary function is to:

  • Minimize Fluid Build-Up: By removing excess fluid, drains help prevent the formation of seromas, which are pockets of clear bodily fluid that can accumulate after surgery.
  • Monitor Bleeding: The amount of fluid in the drain can provide insights into any ongoing bleeding during the early healing phase.
  • Maintain Suction: The drain system comprises a fenestrated tube at the surgical site, connecting to a bulb under negative pressure. This configuration helps maintain continuous suction, ensuring fluid does not accumulate at the surgical location.

How to Measure Drain Output?

Patients need to monitor and measure the fluid output from their drains, ensuring that the healing process is on track:

  • Regular Checkups: You will be given guidance on caring for your drain, which includes checking the fluid levels twice daily, ideally in the morning and evening.
  • Recording Drainage Amount: Keeping a daily record of the fluid drained helps track the healing progress and determine when it is safe to remove the drain.

When is it Time to Remove the Drains?

Drain removal is an integral step in the recovery process:

  • Criteria for Removal: Typically, when the drainage volume reduces to about 30mL or less over several consecutive 24-hour cycles, it may be time for drain removal.
  • Typical Timeline: The first drain is often removed about a week after the surgery. The subsequent drain(s) are removed once the drainage volume meets the specified criteria.

Is the Drain Removal Process Painful?

While the idea of removing a drain might seem daunting, the process is quick and relatively painless:

  • Brief Duration: The removal is a swift procedure, lasting only a few moments.
  • Minimal Discomfort: Patients might feel a slight tugging sensation, but it is generally not painful. Following removal, a gauze pad is placed over the site for a short duration until it fully heals.

Can You Shower With Drains After Tummy Tuck?

Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial during recovery:

  • Showering with Drains: Patients can shower with the drains in place. It’s recommended to secure the drains using a loose loop, like a lanyard, draped around the neck with the drains fastened on.
  • Caring for the Surgical Site: Gently washing the incisions with mild soap and water while holding a washcloth over the drain sites is the best practice.

At Radiance Plastic Surgery, our primary goal is to ensure our patients are well-informed and comfortable throughout their tummy tuck journey. If you are considering a tummy tuck in Alberta, our experienced professionals guide you through every step, ensuring you achieve your desired aesthetic outcomes.

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