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© iko – Fotolia.com

We perform procedures in our abdominoplasty NY surgical centers with great expertise. Although a very precise procedure, there are times when surgical drains may be a necessary part of the surgical and recovery process.

Surgical drains are used to prevent fluid from building up in the treatment area. In many cases, there are two drains placed, one on each side. A drain is a clear tube that leads out of the incision area to a small bulb that could be likened to a flexible hand grenade.

Most of our full tummy tuck patients can expect to wake up in the recovery room with surgical drains. These are placed as a benefit to your overall healing process.

Wearing Surgical Drains

Moving around with the bulbs in place is a point of concern for most patients. While these small bulbs may seem inconvenient, there are ways to work around them. Purchasing a few pairs of large cotton underwear, a patient may pin the bulbs to their undergarment.

Some of our patients report that it is helpful to wear two pairs of underwear and slip the bulbs in between them. Of course, remember that the abdominal compression undergarment must be worn at all times for the first 4 weeks.

Draining Info for Patients

Draining Bulbs

Because the bulbs hold fluid that helps speed up the tummy tuck recovery process, it is necessary to drain them a few times each day. In most cases, the patient will be asked to measure the amount of fluid drained each day and report back to our staff.

Fluid drained from the area may appear with reddish, brownish, or yellowish hues, none of which are cause for alarm. Before surgery, patients are typically given instructions for drains that include colors that may require a post-surgical visit.

Bulbs rarely collect the same amount of fluid each day and should lessen over the period of time that they are inside of the body.

Bathing with Drains

During the time when drains are still in place, patients may either shower or take sponge baths, soaping very gently around the place where the tubes protrude. Post-surgery, it is recommended to shower (no bathing) with non-perfumed soap and with a fresh wash cloth every time.

Many of our patients prepare their home with antibacterial soap for bathing post-surgery. When showering, the patient will need to properly “store” bulbs in such a way as to not tug at them while bathing.

Some tummy tuck patients make belts out of gauze and attach the bulbs so showering is more convenient and relaxing. Or, have someone help you wash while you protect the bulbs and tubing from being jostled.

It’s Only Temporary

Drains, fortunately, are usually only necessary for several days after surgery. In most cases, they can be removed in about a week. Removal is based on the amount of fluid that is draining each day, which is why it is important to track drainage.

If one drain is no longer collecting fluid, it may be removed while the other is left in place. To remove surgical drains, your surgeon will very gently pull it out. The sensation that occurs during removal is different for each patient. Some of our surgical patients report discomfort, while others simply feel something “odd.” If you notice extreme redness, pain or a fever over 100 degrees, call our tummy tuck Manhattan staff immediately!

Contact Our Abdominoplasty Surgeon on the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Team

In the end, the recovery process after a tummy tuck is worth it because it will produce a nice flat tummy! Contact Us for your free tummy tuck consultation with the Advanced Cosmetic Surgery Team in our Long Island or NYC office.


*This page does not communicate the full list of complete risks and potential complications from this surgery. To receive a list of post-op risks & complications, please contact our office.