A major source of pre-operative dismay with tummy tuck patients is the issue of drains.
Tummy Tuck patients need drains. Drains help decrease the potential for seroma formation (fluid collecting between the skin flap and muscle). Seromas can really make post-operative care difficult especially if they become infected. Longer use of drains really decreases the potential for seromas.
Personally, I use drains until fluid output pretty much ceases. This is usually 1-3 weeks. Larger cases/patients can require them longer. Other surgeons take drains out sooner and tolerate a higher risk of seromas. This is a matter of opinion.
Here is an image of the abdomen of one of my tummy tuck patients five days from her surgery. The drains are the tubes leading to the larger bulbs at the patient’s sides. The thin tube is the pain pump catheter.
The drains really don’t cause much discomfort although they are unsightly and patients usually are relieved when they are removed.