Fluid and swelling are normal side effects from surgery, and compression can help to reduce both, but drains are especially useful preventing fluid from collecting into pockets called seromas. When seromas occur, they usually take longer to go away on their own, or you may require additional procedures to get rid of that unwanted fluid. Either way, seromas delay your body from healing together again. After surgeries when the chances of forming seromas is high, drains are used. Once your tissues begin to knit themselves together, the fluid will be reabsorbed, the drainage amount goes down, and that is our hint that the drain can be removed. We like to see the daily amount at less than 30 cc daily for two days in a row. At that point, call for an appointment to have your drain removed. If it is more convenient for you, you may remove your own drain at home at the directions of our Seattle plastic surgery staff or using online instructions below.
Besides all this, your activity will impact your fluid production, and this in turn can impact your drains. One rapid or high-impact maneuver (for example one jumping jack) can tear your healing tissues apart, which will increase your fluid production and keep your drains from being ready for removal. So, being too active can actually make your recovery longer. Be smart, and allow your body to heal.