Believe it or not, a major source of pre-operative dismay with tummy tuck patients is on the issue of drains.
Tummy Tuck patients need drains. Drains help decrease the potential for seroma formation (fluid collecting between the skin flap and muscle). Seromas can really make post-operative care difficult especially if they become infected. The judicious use of drains really decreases the potential for seromas.
Personally, I use drains until fluid output pretty much ceases. This is usually 1-2 weeks. Larger cases/patients can require them longer. Other surgeons don’t use them or remove them sooner and tolerate a higher risk of seromas. This is a matter of opinion. Their patients seem to end up with less flattened tummies than mine. I do what I do with reason.
Here is an close-up of one of my tummy tuck patients five days from her surgery. The drains are the tubes leading to the larger bulbs at her sides. The thinner tube toward the center is her pain pump catheter.
The drains really don’t cause much discomfort although they are unsightly and patients usually are relieved when they are removed.
John Di Saia MD
Originally posted 2005-05-12 21:20:00.