A: About 1 week, but depends…
Drains are placed to create a suction effect to remove additional fluid buildup underneath the skin that has been tightened. Drains are placed because we are counting on more fluid to buildup underneath the tissues than the body can absorb. They can be uncomfortable and cumbersome, but are placed for good reasons: the additional fluid that builds up can continue to build or can become infected.
I do not always use drains, but use them based upon an individual basis. I often use “advancing” absorbable tissue/flap sutures or tissue adhesives to avoid placing drains. If I do use drains, I use comfortable, round smooth drains that “slip” right out on removal with minimal discomfort.
There is definitely a lot of patient anxiety surrounding drains, but when well thought out, can be less of a burden than you might think. Sometimes it can be avoided altogether, and in the least, can be minimally burdensome. But most important, let your surgeon make the decision as to whether a drain should or should not be placed.