Reduction Mammoplasty And Drains – Reviews Of Surgeons

Drains are used to remove blood or fluid from a surgical site. They are usually not necessary in Breast Reduction.

However, occasionally, a particular patient will have more oozing or fluid accumulation at the time of surgery than usual.

In these cases I don’t hesitate to use a drain. As the old adage says, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” Using a drain when it is not needed is much simpler than not doing so when it is needed. (Robert T. Buchanan, MD, Highlands Plastic Surgeon)

I do a lot of breast surgery, including reductions, and my rule of thumb is as follows: If I remove over 400 grams from a breast, I leave in a drain for 48-72 hours. If I remove LESS than 400 grams, I do not leave a drain.

Drainage Tubes

With a smaller breast reduction, a drain is not necessary. With a larger one, the drain is necessary. Ask your surgeon how many grams he/she estimates he/she will be removing. IF your surgeon estimates more than 400 grams will be removed, you should have a drain placed. This will minimize postoperative swelling. (Tracy L. Cordray, MD, Charleston Plastic Surgeon)

A drain is not necessary for breast reduction. Using a drain depends on the surgeon and the surgical technique applied. (Jerome Edelstein, MD, Toronto Plastic Surgeon)

A breast reduction procedure is commonly performed with the use a drain but it is not universally utilized. I tend to use these intermittently based on the sie and technique used. However, they are not absolutely necessary. (Otto Joseph Placik, MD, Chicago Plastic Surgeon)

Drains are not always necessary after a breast reduction. In most cases I will place them, but for some techniques it can be avoided. (Steven Wallach, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)


Every plastic surgeon is different in the way they manage patients. It is based on that surgeon’s experience. So drains are not mandatory in breast reductions. (Earl Stephenson, Jr., MD, DDS, FACS, Atlanta Plastic Surgeon)

I never use drains for anchor reduction or lift.

Drains are used to remove blood or serum. Careful tissue handling and meticulous hemostasis will eliminate the need for drains, but some surgeons prefer the potential cavity to be on mild suction to promote healing.

That has not been necessary in my 27 years in private practice for both breast reductions and full breast lifts with the anchor pattern incisions. (Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS, Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon)

Vertical breast reduction, are drains necessary ?

What Do Reduction Mammoplasty Drains Look Like

Vertical vs. anchor pattern breast reductions are just scar patterns. That does not determine the amount of volume that is to be removed. Every surgeon has their own preference on the usage of drains and their criteria may be different.

There is no right or wrong answer to drains but I suggest that you see a board certified plastic surgeon to guide you on the best option for you. (Jennifer Capla, MD, New York Plastic Surgeon)

The vertical breast reduction actually has a greater tendency to have fluid accumulation (seroma) after the procedure due to the technique.

While I do not use drains, it is not uncommon to have post-operative fluid accumulation under the breast which may require drainage in the office if drains are not used. (Jeffrey A. Sweat, MD, Sacramento Plastic Surgeon)