A tummy tuck re-contours the abdominal area for a smooth, toned midsection. The procedure creates a space between the abdominal tissue and the muscle where fluid collects following surgery. To prevent fluid buildup, post-surgical drains are usually used. The drain removes the fluids during the recovery process until the tissue and muscle have healed. Proper drain care helps you enjoy the best tummy tuck results.
The drain consists of a small, flexible tube that leads away from the surgical site, ending in a small bulb that collects fluid. During the first few days, you can expect the drainage to look reddish or bloody. The fluid color will change over the course of several days, eventually becoming straw-colored. The first day after surgery, you’ll need to empty the drain every few hours. Fluid collection will slow down after several days and will only need to be emptied 2 to 3 times per day or when the drain is half full.
Before handling your tummy tuck drain, you’ll need to wash your hands thoroughly and put on disposable gloves. To begin, use one hand to gently grasp the drain tube close to where it meets the skin. With your other hand, pinch the drain to push the fluid toward the bulb. The bulb has markings to measure the amount of fluid present. Before you empty the bulb, it’s important to note the measurements in your drain log, along with the day and time.
You’ll need to clean and care for the drain site daily. Wearing gloves, remove the dressing to clean the area around the tube with hydrogen peroxide. Apply antibiotic ointment before putting on a clean dressing. Contact your surgeon in the event of fever, excess fluid, foul odor or other signs of infection.