The following question from our forum is from a woman who was wondering if tummy tuck surgical drains hurt, how long the drains have to stay in and how difficult it was to go to the bathroom with the surgical drains.

Date: 08/20/2010 Submitted by: Dominique

I am interested in getting a tummy tuck. I was wondering if the drains hurt? is it hard to go to the bathroom? How long does the drains stay inside you? Do you have to get cut again to get the drains out? Dominique


Date: 08/20/2010 Submitted by: Tanner


I found the surgical drains to be an interesting part of the tummy tuck experience. I didn’t know anything about them or what to expect before my operation. When I woke up in the recovery room, THERE THEY WERE. Two of them, “plugged into” my body a few inches below my waist.

But to answer your questions, no the surgical drains didn’t hurt at all. At my skin’s surface where they penetrated my body I couldn’t feel anything because that area was numb even long after the drains were removed. I also could not feel the 5 inches or so of tubing that was inside my body. I didn’t know how much of it they put in or where it went.

You might want to check out my surgical drains page
and read the feedback comments at the bottom of the page. At least one person experienced some pain with her surgical drains.

Going to the bathroom after the tummy tuck operation and with the surgical drains was no problem for me. You just have to move a lot slower and make sure you have something to hang onto like the nearby tub or sink vanity to steady as you position yourself.

How long do the surgical drains stay inside you? That changes with each individual, the degree of surgery he/she had and the rate of drainage after the surgery. I had to monitor and empty my surgical drains every four hours. When the drainage rate slowed to below 30cc’s over a 24-hour period for 2 consecutive days, then the drains could be removed, but that was up to the discretion of the surgeon. My surgical drains stayed in for 6 days.

Getting the surgical drains removed was easy and there was no “cutting” involved (except for the snipping of a few stitches with a scissor that held the surgical drains in place). At one of my follow-up visits my surgeon simply put one of his hands against my body at the insertion point as a brace and gently pulled the drain tube out. It only took a second. I was surprised to see about 4 – 5 inches of tubing slide easily out of my body. It didn’t hurt at all and there was little or no bleeding.

I hope this answers your questions. Best of luck.