A common question I get asked by my breast reduction patients in Tucson, Arizona, is whether they will have a drain after surgery? The purpose of a drain is to remove fluid that can accumulate after surgery.
When tissue gets removed from the body as it does in a breast reduction, or when new potential spaces are created, as a in a tummy tuck, the body sometimes tends to fill these areas up with fluid. Drains have been commonly used by plastic surgeons to remove this fluid.
While drains do sometimes have a potential benefit, patients can find them cumbersome to manage. For breast reductions, I feel that there is little to no role for drains. There have been several studies in the literature that have shown the presence of drains has not improved healing or prevented against the production of a seroma (a postoperative fluid collection).
Typically when drains are placed for a breast reduction, they are left in place for 24 hours. In my experience, patients are slower to recover when they have drains, even when they come out on the day after surgery. There is also psychological element to recovering from surgery, and the mind sees the drains as one more impediment to recovery.
For these many reasons, I do not utilize drains after breast reduction surgery at my Tucson practice. If you have any other questions about this procedure and my preferred techniques, leave them for me in a comment.