Tummy Tuck with or without Drainage

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

Doctor Answers 4

No drain Tummy Tuck

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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.



Lymphatic massage after tummy tuck

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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. 

Tummy Tuck With or Without Drainage

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The purpose of applying #drains to a tummy tuck is to release extra fluid that may otherwise accumulate under the skin, fat or muscle following surgery. Patients generally find this annoying and uncomfortable and they can impede mobility and therefore slow aspects of #healing. Over the years, surgeons have improved procedures and found ways to eliminate the need for these #drains in a variety of operations; including #tummy #tuck or #abdominoplasty.

I have found that most of my patients do very well with the exception of those have large areas of liposuction or lipo-abdominoplasty.  I may use drains on a case by case basis for these patients. Also, a newer option now can include the use of tissue #glue to adhere the a#bdominal #skin to the #muscle; eliminating any space that previously required a drain.

If you go to a plastic #surgeon who uses drains, or if your situation requires drains, they usually stay in 3-5 days but may be required to remain in longer. The most important decision to be made before performing any surgical procedure is determining whether you are an ideal #candidate. Your board-certified plastic surgeon will recommend the type best suited for you during a one-on-one in-person consultation. Also, another element to a satisfying result of your procedures are realistic #expectations.

Jed H. Horowitz, MD, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Lymphatic Massage OK with Drainless Tummy Tuck

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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

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