Drains vs No Drain Cosmetic Surgery Options

Surgery Drains vs No Drains in Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

Cosmetic surgery patients strongly prefer “drain-free” surgery procedures. I want patients to feel as comfortable as possible during their recovery. I also want to improve their recovery time frames, where I can. With this in mind, I rarely use surgical drains in my cosmetic procedures.

  • I prefer NOT to use surgical drains, when possible.
  • This helps patients have, not only a less painful but also a speedier recovery process.
  • But, NOT all Surgeons are familiar with using advanced, drain-free cosmetic surgery techniques.
  • However, some patients may still require the use of drains.

Which procedures can be performed FREE from surgical drains?

  • The answer to this is that it VARIES
  • However, many plastic surgery procedures CAN be performed WITHOUT drains
  • Various factors may go into DRAIN vs NO-DRAIN surgery decisions

Surgical drains were once routinely used regardless of actually being warranted.

Why do patients PREFER not to have drains?

Patients appreciate that drain-free procedures CAN offer:

  • Not only, less discomfort during recovery (better sleep)
  • But, fewer incisions for the drains/tubes
  • And, fewer skin disruptions as they heal
  • As well as, less risk of wound infection.

Drain-free cosmetic surgery techniques AVOID unnecessary drain-tube incision(s) and related healing risks.

This can help reduce complications linked with drain use.


Why I Avoid Using Surgery Drains

Reason 1: Patient Comfort vs Pain During Recovery

  • Surgery drains can be very uncomfortable or/or painful
  • They also lead to more incisions and painful drain-tube extraction(s)
  • These can delay healing and recovery times AND increase wound exposure to contaminants

Reason 2: Infection Risks and Surgery Drains

  • Drains may introduce infections into treated areas, such as  incision lines and wounds
  • Drain tube extraction also risks tissue and/or vessel damage

Reason 3: Tissue Damage and Drain Extraction Pain

  • Drain tube extraction (or, drain removal) after surgery can be quite painful
  • Drain(s) and/or drain tubing can also result in tissue disruption (scars and skin indentations)
  • Tissue damage after drain tube extraction can also impede the appearance of your results


Below, is an excerpt from an article in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery describing risks of drains:

“Drains can malfunction, introduce infection into the wound, leak, become misplaced, and entail extra incision and scarring. They create tracts at the site of removal, necessitate painful extraction, and risk injury to vessels on removal.”  [Jones, Barry M. F.R.C.S.; Grover, Rajiv F.R.C.S. (Plast.); Hamilton, Stephen F.R.C.S. (Plast.)

How Drains Can Delay Surgery Recovery

  • Insertion and extraction of drain tube(s) may lead to infections and/or unwanted bleeding at surgical sites
  • Delayed skin recovery can also compromise results
  • This may frustrate patients wanting to return to exercising as quickly as possible
  • Research supports that routine drain use CAN be avoided by using advanced techniques
  • So, I focus on techniques that provide greater comfort and reduced infection risks

Are Drains Necessary for Most Plastic Surgery Procedures or Abdominoplasty Surgeries?

Research suggests routine use of drains is often unnecessary for cosmetic surgery.
  • Drain tube extractions may increase some complication risks, delay recovery and also increase scarring
  • But every patient’s scenario and health is unique
  • As a result, drains may be required in some cases 

In short: Many advanced techniques by Plastic Surgeons allow for drain-free surgery procedures

Medical Journal References and Resources

About Dr Craig Rubinstein – Plastic Surgeon

Dr Craig Rubinstein

Dr Craig Rubinstein – Specialist Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne

Dr Craig Rubinstein is one of Melbourne’s Best Specialist Plastic Surgeons for breast and tummy surgery. He has been rated as a TOP 3 Plastic Surgeon in Melbourne and rated a Top 5 Plastic Surgeon on the “Best in Australia” website. Dr Rubinstein offers women personalised abdominoplasty surgery and all forms of cosmetic breast surgery. He uses only the highest quality Breast Implants and is renowned for his natural-looking and long-lasting results.

He is dedicated to the best surgical planning, committed to patient education and premium patient care throughout the surgery and recovery process. He prioritises the desired outcomes for each patient while maintaining the highest levels of patient care. Dr Rubinstein is meticulous in his surgical approach and uses the BEST Surgical Support Team. He has over 25 years of experience in providing high-quality results which reflect his ongoing training, education and experience.

Dr Rubinstein also firmly believes that “the best time to get plastic surgery right is the first time”. He prefers that patients get the surgical results they desire from their first surgery, rather than from complex and often costly revision procedures.  

Dr Rubinstein’s Affiliations

fracsASAPSAustralian Society of Plastic SurgeonsASPSisaps

Next Steps

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Want more information about your Procedure?

What to Bring to your Surgeon Consultation

  • You are more than welcome to bring a friend or relative to help discuss the information and your choices
  • Ensure you also take a lot of notes and thoroughly examine the documents provided
  • Please be aware you may need to undress for a physical exam so wear simple clothes

How to Book your Initial Consultation

  • Dr Rubinstein’s Consultation fee is $300 for a comprehensive consultation
  • A referral from your GP or your specialist is helpful but not essential for a cosmetic procedure
  • You will need to get a medicare referral in order to claim any medicare benefits or Health Insurance for reconstructive plastic surgery
  • Please contact the Patient Care Team at Coco Ruby Plastic Surgery today to book your consultation with Dr Craig

Phone 1300 264 811 or send us an enquiry form, below.

*Disclaimer: Individual results can vary significantly from patient to patient. The information we provide is general.  For further information on what to expect for your preferred procedures, arrange to see one of our Specialist Plastic Surgeons for a full history and surgical consultation. Read further information about surgical outcome variability on our Disclaimer page.