Tummy Tuck Surgery Drains: What They Are and Why They're Important By Gregory Mesna on August 10, 2014

A woman's well-toned torsoDr. Gregory T. Mesna has performed countless body contouring procedures on patients throughout the Minneapolis area. One of the most common of these surgeries is the tummy tuck (abdominoplasty), which reduces loose skin and stretch marks along the lower abdominal area. It can make a major difference for women who have given birth or for people who have lost a significant amount of weight.

After undergoing tummy tuck surgery, it's common for drainage tubes to be placed as patients heal. We'd like to look at why these tubes are placed and what purpose they serve in the recovery process.

The Purpose of Draining Tubes After Tummy Tuck Surgery

After a surgery such as tummy tuck, fluid builds up under the patient's skin and in the tissues around the incisions sites. This is a normal reaction of a person's body to surgery. Excessive fluid accumulation can be uncomfortable and can actually lead to potential surgical complications such as infection.

Drainage tubes allow this fluid to be passed out of the patient's system in a simple and effective way. Without the tubes in place, the healing process may prove more difficult.

Are drainage tubes uncomfortable?

Drainage tubes are slightly uncomfortable simply given their nature, but the discomfort of the drainage tubes is manageable and mild. They will be a minor portion of the soreness and discomfort that patients will experience as a normal part of the tummy tuck healing process.

Monitoring Fluid Drained from the Tubes

Patients will be in charge of monitoring the nature of the fluid that is drained. Draining should be done roughly every six hours

The fluid that is drained from the body during tummy tuck recovery tends to be pinkish in color. More fluid tends to be drained in the first day or so of recovery, which is common. Less and less fluid will be removed through the drains as healing continues. Some drains may yield more fluid than others, which is also common. Once the fluid drainage is less than 25cc, patients will be able to have their drainage tubes removed.

If during any time a patient notices an odd color of the drained fluid or undue pain and discomfort, they should contact the practice as soon as possible so the problem can be addressed.

How long will I have drainage tubes?

Generally, patients will have drainage tubes in place for a week to a week-and-a-half. Some patients may have their drainage tubes in place for up to two weeks if they have more issues with fluid accumulation. While the tubes may be uncomfortable, we don't want to rush the removal process since the tubes play such an important role in post-surgical results.

Removing the Drainage Tubes

The removal of the drainage tubes will be done at a follow-up visit to the practice. It's rare for local anesthetic to be used during the removal process since the pain is not particularly acute. Patients will notice tingling and other strange sensations as the drainage tubes are removed, which is common.

In some cases, a single drainage tube may remain if the patient notices issues with fluid accumulation in a particular area. Again, this is something we do not wish to rush since the tubes are crucial for proper healing.

Learn More About Tummy Tuck Surgery

If you would like more information about tummy tuck surgery and how it can help you achieve a more ideal body contour, we encourage you to contact our cosmetic plastic surgery center today. Dr. Mesna and his entire team will make sure that you understand the entire surgical process from beginning to end so that you can make a well-informed decision about your options for aesthetic enhancement.

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Dr. Gregory T. Mesna

Mesna Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center

Gregory T. Mesna MD, FACS, is a board-certified plastic surgeon with over 20 years of top-level experience. He performs a wide range of surgical and non-surgical procedures to enhance and rejuvenate the face, body, and breasts. He is proud to be affiliated with:

  • The American College of Surgeons (Fellow)
  • The American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons
  • The Minnesota Society of Plastic Surgeons

You can request a free consultation at our office in Minneapolis, MN, by contacting us online or calling (952) 927-4556.

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