The Purpose of Drains After Breast Reduction Surgery
August 11, 2014
San Francisco, California-Drainage tubes are placed at the end of several different major types of cosmetic plastic surgery, including but not limited to: gynecomastia (male breast reduction), tummy tuck surgery and breast reduction, also known as reduction mammoplasty.
The purpose of a drain is to remove blood and lymphatic fluid from the operative site. This will help prevent infection and eliminate dead space created by removal of fat and breast tissue. Removing the accumulated fluids will also promote healing and recovery.
Jackson Pratt is the type of drain used after breast reduction surgery. It has a clear tube that runs from the surgical site to a bulb or reservoir. When the bulb is emptied it is gently squeezed when reattaching to the drain tube causing a low negative pressure suction that helps remove fluids. You will be asked to keep a log to measure output and color of the fluid.
Prior to surgery, Dr. Delgado gives his patients a detailed instruction booklet with extensive pre and post-operative instructions. In addition, prior to being released from Marin Cosmetic Surgery Center, in Marin County, California, the nurse will review all post op care, including a demonstration of measuring and emptying the bulb to you and your overnight caretaker. The amount of drainage and color of the fluid will determine when the drain can be removed, usually within 3 to 5 days.
If the patient notices: an unusual increase of fluid collection, bright red blood, fever and/or tenderness it must be reported immediately. It is possible for the drain tube to get blocked with a small blood clot. This can be remedied by pinching the tube above the blockage and sliding with a pinching of the thumb and forefinger of the other hand down the tube to the bulb. This will also be demonstrated.
The removal of the drain may cause some discomfort of a burning or stinging nature. Taking pain medication prior to removal is possible as long as the patient has someone to drive her home.
After removal of the drains, the small incision site will close up within 24 to 48 hours. Once they have closed up they are now waterproof and the patient may resume regular showers. However, while the drains are still in place, only sponge baths are allowed, and the incision site must remain dry to avoid infection.
Even with the minor discomfort that the drains may cause, they serve a great purpose in not only reducing the chance of infection, speeding up healing and recovery; they prohibit the buildup of fluids in the surgical site which would be much more painful.