Average Time for Drains to Stay After the Tummy Tuck

A tummy tuck surgery is performed on a large area of the body. In such surgeries, there is a possibility for fluid to form and accumulate. This formation is known as a seroma. Although the seroma can be left untreated as the body naturally reabsorbs it, its formation can also cause pressure to the incision and wound. If there is too much pressure, the wound could open up and an infection could develop.

To prevent this, the seroma must be removed. The surgeon can do this through manual aspiration of the fluid after the surgery or by placing drains on the abdomen. The drains are small tubes placed below the incision so that the seroma can be easily drained. The drains are usually not painful, but they can be uncomfortable because they can tug at your skin.

Normally, 1 to 2 drains will be placed after a tummy tuck procedure. Howvwer, this will depend on the kind of tummy tuck that was performed. Those who also had liposuction at the same time as the tummy tuck are more prone to develop a seroma. Hence, drains will certainly be placed after the surgery.

The length of time the drains have to stay on the body varies. The average is usually 2 weeks depending on how much fluid has accumulated. Some only have the drains attached for as little as 24 hours, while others may have it for more than 2 weeks. This depends on how much fluid is collected. If there is a significant amount of fluid, it means that there is still a large space inside the abdomen that is being continuously filled with fluid.

When the body heals, the fluid accumulation also stops. This is why you will notice that the amount of fluid collected from the drains becomes less and less. Once the surgeon is comfortable with the amount of fluid that is collected, the drains will be removed. In removing the drains, the surgeons will just pull it out. It may sound scary, but the patient will actually feel only mild discomfort.

The amount of fluid produced depends from one patient to another, which can also be affected by how fast the patient heals. There are patients who heal fast, and there are others who do not. This is why the amount of time the drain stays on the body varies.

There are some surgeons who are also able to perform a tummy tuck surgery that does not require any drain. This is possible by removing the empty space. The fat layer is sutured to the muscle layer to remove as much of the empty space so that there is minimal fluid accumulation. Although many patients do not develop a seroma because of this, there are still others who do. When the body does not heal fast enough, fluid accumulation is more likely to occur. If this happens, it is necessary to have a surgeon remove it.


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