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When Will My Stitches and Drains Be Removed?
The answer to this may be never since several surgeons today do not use drains and all your stitches are dissolvable.
Drains during your surgery
A drain is a surgical tube which is inserted during your surgery. This is used to drain out blood or fluids from your wound enabling better healing of the tissue. Most surgeons do not use surgical drains and I do not recommend them for elective augmentation procedure.
Breast augmentation procedure – there is no removal of tissue involved and the bleeding is minimal.
Breast lift procedure – involves only skin removal leaving no space for collection of fluids.
Augmentation and lift combination procedure – for the same reasons as above, no drains are required for the combination procedure either.When Will My Stitches and Drains Be Removed?
Breast reduction surgery – this is one procedure where a drain is inserted overnight. A considerable amount of tissue is removed during the reduction process. This leaves a large area which may begin to ooze before healing starts. Since the drainage is at a minimum, the drains are only required short term.
As per a study conducted by British surgeons, drains placed in an augmentation patient could increase the rate of infection by 10%. This could be because the drains act as an entry for bacteria. Undoubtedly then, the advantages of using a drain must outweigh any disadvantages. The one place where the advantages certainly outweigh is in case of breast reconstruction procedure following a mastectomy.
Stitches during your surgery
Your surgeon may use stitches to close the incision and these are removed within 5 days to a week after your surgery. What a lot of surgeons follow is to close the tissue deep and use a single dissolvable stitch just beneath the edge of your skin for the best closure. This is then closed with a strip of an adhesive and your stitches dissolve within 6 weeks.
Some patients fear that the implants may fall out. There is very low to nil possibility of the incision opening up. This is since the inner tissues are closed together with multiple layers of braided stitches and these take about 3 months to dissolve. Even in the rare case that the incision opens up, your implants cannot fall out. This is because within 3 weeks of your surgery, your implants are encased within a thin layer of tissue.
You must know a bit about stitches – whether you cut your hand and got stitches at the ER or got implants – your incision remains a bit bumpy, lumpy and red for about 6 weeks. This is when a healing ridge is formed. From here, it takes another 6 months for this to soften – this is called maturing of the incision. The final color of the incision is visible only after a year if you are dark skinned and about 2 years if you are fairly light skinned.