Drains and why we use them in Cosmetic Surgery

Drains are used in all of the Surgical fields, General Surgery, Orthopedics, Urology and Plastic Surgery etc… The purpose of a drain is to evacuate fluid from building up in an empty space or a potential space where the surgery was performed.This helps lower the chances of post operative complications and infections.

What actually is a drain? Most are small, hallow tubes, made of silicone that we place in the empty space and then outside of the body they are attached to a small bulb that creates suction. This allows us to keep fluid from building up in the operative area.

In Cosmetic Surgery they are often used in Tummy Tucks, Face Lifts, and some Breast surgeries. Tummy tucks are probably the most common instance. In a tummy tuck the drain removes the fluid that naturally builds up between the top of the abdominal muscles and the overlying fatty tissue. Without a drain in place, the fluid would just collect and distort the appearance of the abdomen and could lead to wound healing problems. In most instances that we use drains we remove them not based on time but on how much fluid is actually draining out. When the output is low enough, the drain is removed. Usually this ranges from a day or two up to a week.

So, while not terribly popular with patients, drain are sort of a ‘necessary evil’ that helps your surgeon get the best outcome with your cosmetic procedure.

Lee Corbett, MD

Corbett Cosmetic Aesthetic Surgery and Med Spa

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