Yes or no to drains after breast reduction surgery

Yes or no to drains after breast reduction surgery

26th Jan 2020


Breast reductionis a procedure commonly performed nowadays to help women with overly large breasts get more mobility and increase the quality of their lives. There are many discomforts and even health conditions associated or triggered by having breasts of an excessive volume, such as an abnormal body posture and even dermatological conditions on the inframammary fold. 

The procedure should be performed only on patients who have fully developed breasts, and often this means patients over the age of 16 years old. However, it is performed even on teenage patients as the damage that can occur as a result of having overly large breasts can be permanent if not corrected early in life.

When breast reduction is performed, the patient feels no pain or discomfort as general anesthesia is often used. The plastic surgeon will make incisions on the breasts and then eliminate the excess of the glandular tissue. When the breasts are the size and volume discussed during the pre-operative consultation, the surgeon will also eliminate the skin excess and suture the incisions. 

If a considerable amount of tissue was eliminated, the plastic surgeon might use drain tubes. The drain tubes are inserted close to the incision site, and they have the role of evacuating the blood and fluids that could otherwise accumulate in the operated area. The drain tubes are used for many other plastic surgery procedures, but not all the time in the case of breast reduction. If the amount of tissue that was eliminated wasn’t significant, the plastic surgeon could decide not to use them. 

The recommendation to use drains or not after breast reduction is dependent from patient to patient and procedure to procedure. If drain tubes are used, they should be carefully taken care of and it is only the plastic surgeon who can remove them. The instruction is to wait 24 to 48 hours after the surgery and see the plastic surgeon for a post-op consultation. It is usually during this follow-up consultation that the plastic surgeon will remove the drain tubes. If the procedure was a complex one and a lot of tissue was removed and drain tubes were not inserted, blood and fluid could accumulate in the surgical area, leading to seromas and hematomas. If they are small in size, they will disappear on their own in time with no additional treatment required. However, for larger seromas and hematomas, additional treatment might be required such as the removal of the liquid inside with a syringe and even their surgical elimination. Make sure to discuss whether drain tubes are necessary to be inserted after your breast reduction surgery with the plastic surgeon. 

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