BBL drains or no drains? Lymphatic Massage or not?

The opinions seem to very greatly! It appears that many of the Miami area doctors depend on drains. Most LA, TX, NY do not. Why use them if the results are as good and the recovery time similar? The doctors who use drains suggest frequent lymphatic massage. The doctors that don't use drains, don't find it necessary. Again, after reviewing endless discussions and photos, recovery time and results are very similar.

Doctor Answers 5

BBL drains or no drains? Lymphatic Massage or not?

I do not use drains.  This is more preference than anything else.  Lymphatic massage is OK, but I do not think it is mandatory.

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Kenneth Hughes, MD

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 492 reviews

No drains or lymphatic massage are needed

I do not use drains on my BBLs nor do my colleagues.   They are not necessary and are an entrance route for infection.  NO NEED FOR DRAINS!     As far as massage is concerned I believe this also is not necessary but okay if it feels comforting.  BUT UNNECESSARY.   My theory is that fundamentally all massage is lymphatic.  When you massage an area you are hoping you can massage and influence some of the fluid in the tissues to find its way into the lymph vessels and be washed away.   Fundamentally massage is directed toward the heart or locally to a lymph collecting center.   But remember that after surgery the lymphatic vessels are in a disorganized state and must connect before they function effectively.  So if a massage manages to get rid of the fluid a little, the next day it is right back there.  The lymphatics take a long time to connect  ...(4 to 6 months or more).   So does massage really help speed things along.  I believe the answer is no.  Nevertheless it is comforting for some patients to have a massage and that is fine and temporarily there is a reduction of fluid in that specific area.   SO MASSAGE IS OPTIONAL AND HOPEFULLY ALL MASSAGE IS LYMPHATIC.   Hope this helps.    My Best,  Dr C

George Commons, MD
Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

They both can be very helpful, but none are mandatory....


Thanks for your question.

Lymphatic Drainage Massages are pretty helpful when it comes to reducing your recovery period because they aid, like the name says, to drain the inflammatory fluid accumulation. The will normally not affect the outcome, but after liposuction, the lymphatic system is kind of overloaded, so they definitely help on draining that lymph excess. 

Now concerning the drains, I rarely use them for liposuction. Just in cases where it has been a major one and specially for the lower back region. When a lot of fat is extracted, normally the cannula has passed more than several times through that area, and that creates what in medicine we call a "third space", which is what could be described as a empty space created due to dissection (in this case the cannula dissects and creates it). Interstitial fluid (blood, serum, etc) may collect in this space and the surgeon may have to puncture and aspirate it. To avoid this, pre-cautious surgeons sometimes may foresee this and put a drain for 24 hours. 

Both of them are not mandatory, but may result very helpful in many situations. 

Hope this explanation can help you better understand this concept and clear your mind of doubts about this subject. 

Take good care of yourself, 

Dr. Fernandez Goico

Luis A. Fernandez Goico, MD
Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 131 reviews

BBL drains or no.

It is like making chicken soup amongst chefs. They all make it differently but it comes out like chicken soup!  Don't focus on the way they do it, focus on the results.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

BBL drains or no drains? Lymphatic Massage or not

Thank you for your question. I do not use drains for liposuction.  Lymphatic massages will help with the swelling after liposuction. Best Wishes.

Jeff Angobaldo, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 104 reviews

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