Tummy Tuck with or without Drainage

Does the the no drainage TummyTuck eliminate the use of lymphatic massages?

Doctor Answers 3

No drain Tummy Tuck

The lymphatics which drain the abdomen are removed with traditional tummy tuck techniques and thus the classic teaching was to use drains to remove the post operative fluid which the body produces in response to the surgical manipulation of the tissue.
By preserving the lymphatic tissue in the Scarpa's Fascia layer, the body has the ability to reabsorb this fluid an recirculate the fluid back into the cardiovascular system through the existing infrastructure and thus obviating the need for post surgical drains. The concept behind lymphatic massage would necessitate keeping the lymphatics to be able to drain the fluid with lymphatic massage.

Bryn Mawr Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Lymphatic massage after tummy tuck

The utility of lymphatic massage after surgery is controversial.  We have never used it... either when we used to use drains or now when we perform the No-Drain Tummy Tuck. 

What using the No-Drain Tummy Tuck procedure does do is decrease your risk of seromas (blister fluid collections). This has been shown by numerous surgeons in the past 16 years since the procedure was described.  Most recently, we published our experience with over 450 tummy tucks during the period during which we transitioned to from using drains to the no-drain technique and we noted that the seroma rate decreased from 9% when we used drains to 2% when we did the no-drain tummy tuck. 

I hope this helps and best wishes. 

Luis H. Macias, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 60 reviews

Lymphatic Massage OK with Drainless Tummy Tuck

When I perform a Drainless Tummy Tuck, it is the same procedure as with drains other than the placement of dissolvable stitches between the subcutaneous fat and the underlying muscle fascia.  Thus, it does not affect the use of lymphatic massage in the post-op phase once the preliminary healing has occurred.  Each surgeon will have an opinion as to whether the want you to perform lymphatic massage following tummy tuck surgery.  I personally have never suggested it and I seem to get good results without it.
Good luck

David F. Pratt, MD
Kirkland Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

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