Most tummy tuck surgeries involve the placement of drains for a few days following the procedure. Drains are small tubes that are temporarily attached to the body following surgery using sutures.
Drains are used to remove excess fluid and blood from the body to promote healing and reduce swelling and inflammation. As a result of the lack of a drain, fluid would otherwise accumulate at the surgical site and cause complications.
What is a Tummy Tuck Drain?
Through tummy tuck surgery, extra skin and fat are removed from your stomach area, and the midsection is sculpted beautifully, but your body must heal after the procedure. Tummy tuck drains are used to aid in the healing process.
The tummy tuck drain, which appears as a plastic ball attached to a clear plastic tube, is inserted into a tiny incision in the abdomen near the surgical site during the procedure. Excess fluid will drain from the tubes as the body recovers during the first few weeks following surgery.
How Long Do Tummy Tuck Drains Stay In?
Depending on the type and extent of the patient’s tummy tuck, the length of time drains will be required varies. Some patients need a single drain for as few as five to seven days. Others require two gutters for a period of up to two weeks.
Drains may be removed after a certain period, depending on the amount of fluid accumulated in the bulbs each day following surgery. After the amount has decreased sufficiently, Dr. will determine whether or not the drains can be safely removed.
To ensure proper healing, tummy tuck drains are essential since they help to prevent seromas or excess fluid collections in the body. There are many types of seromas, which can be both aesthetically unappealing and painful when present. To avoid these bulges from forming, it is essential to drain excess fluid continuously.
Why do drains need to be used after a tummy tuck?
The purpose of drains is to help remove excess fluid after surgery. Your tummy tuck involves separating the skin and fat from the underlying muscles, creating a sizeable abdominal flap.
The body produces a fluid called serous fluid to promote healing, which can collect in the space between the skin and muscle, known as the “dead space”. If this occurs, complications such as seroma or infection may result.
To prevent this from occurring, two drains are typically placed beneath the skin to remove any remaining blood and the serous fluid present. The drains are shaped like small tubes with bulbs attached. To remove excess fluid, squeeze the bulb to create a manual suction.
After your tummy tuck surgery, your plastic surgeon will usually place drains. The bandages are typically left in place for several days to a few weeks following a tummy tuck. Most of my patients have their drains removed about one week after their surgery.
What are the risks of removing drains too early after a tummy tuck?
After a tummy tuck, removing the drains too soon may increase the risk of seroma formation (fluid accumulation). After a tummy tuck, most patients will develop a small seroma if an ultrasound is performed. When a seroma is clinically evident, several treatment options are available.
If the collection is small, it will typically resorb on its own and may not require treatment. If the mass is large or symptomatic during a follow-up visit, it may be aspirated. If an infected seroma develops, drainage would be necessary and wound care as the healing process proceeds.
Drainage systems and abdominal compression garments should be used together to reduce the risk of fluid accumulation at the surgical site after a tummy tuck.
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