The Truth About Tummy Tuck Drains

Learn more about tummy tuck drains.

One of the biggest concerns many people have when it comes to recovering from a tummy tuck at our Atlanta, GA, area practice is caring for surgical drains. These helpful devices can have a negative image and may seem daunting to deal with, but their role in recovery is a crucial one.

In this blog post, we’ll let you in on the truth about tummy tuck drains: from what they really achieve to what it’s really like living with them.

What is a drain used for after tummy tuck surgery?

Put simply, surgical drains help relieve the buildup of inflammatory fluid that can occur after certain procedures. During tummy tuck recovery, this buildup typically occurs between the skin and the muscle. It’s called a seroma, and it can increase your risk for complications including infection, fever, swelling, and discomfort. By allowing this fluid to escape from the body, drains encourage a safe and speedy healing process.

Having a drain in place shouldn’t be uncomfortable, especially with the use of EXPAREL®, a slow-release pain medication that’s injected into the surgical site during your procedure. Only a thin tube remains in an incision on your abdomen, and it’s connected to a bulb outside your body that collects the excess fluid.

The drains will only be in place for about a week, at which time we’ll remove them at a follow-up appointment.

How do you care for a drain after surgery?

While drains help prevent a number of risks, they do come with some minimal risks themselves, the main concern being an infection. If the bulb or tube is contaminated with bacteria, it can make its way into the body. For this reason, it’s important to keep the area around the drain clean and thoroughly wash your hands before emptying or handling the bulb.

You can shower with drains in place, but we recommend securing them in place with s strip of gauze or a belt to prevent the water from tugging on or dislocating them. Many patients opt for sponge baths for the first few days to avoid this issue. Verywell Health offers more information about caring for surgical drains.

How long do drains stay in after a tummy tuck?

The key fact to remember is that despite their bad rap, surgical drains are really only in place for about a week, during which time your activities will be limited as you recover.

While they may seem like an inconvenience, these drains are essential to both your safety and the success of your results. Most tummy tuck patients would be quick to tell you their new flat, toned tummy was more than worth the hassle of dealing with drains. For a reminder of what’s waiting for you on the other side of recovery, please visit our before-and-after photo gallery.

If you’re ready to create your dream body with a tummy tuck and you’re in the Woodstock, Roswell, or greater Atlanta, GA, area, please contact our Marietta practice online or call (770) 421-1242 to request a personal consultation.

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