Drain tubes are often required after plastic surgical procedures. They are soft silastic (silicone) tubes that go under the skin to drain excess fluid out of a wound or incision. When a surgery like a thigh lift, tummy tuck or arm lift are performed, the skin and fatty tissue is mobilized off of the underlying muscle and bones so that the excess tissue can be removed. The skin that we are saving is then repositioned and tightened to make a better contour. Underneath that ‘flap’ of tissue that has been moved is now a potential space that can fill up with blood and fluid, which can cause problems healing. The cut surfaces on the inside weep fluid after surgery as a response to the injury it has sustained from being lifted and moved. The drains pull that out. Right after surgery your body makes a lot of fluid, but after a week or two the tissue starts to recuperate and heal, and no longer makes so much fluid. Once the fluid production tapers off it is safe to remove the drain tubes without worry of build up or the fluid collection causing problems during healing.
Admittedly, drain tubes are a pain, a nuisance and a bother to take care of. However, they do make it possible for us to do some wonderful body re-contouring surgeries safely.