Drainage Vs Natural Fluid Removal For SmartLipo?

I had a consultation for smart Lipo and the doctor said that he would be stitching the incision once the surgery was complete. My friend had smart Lipo about a month back and she was left open for drainage. My question is, what is the better method; leave it open to drain or stitch it so it heals better but will not drain?

Doctor Answers 6

Why I prefer closed liposuction incisions

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Open Incisions vs Closed for Liposuction is highly variable based on surgeon's preference and either way way in good hands you get a satisfactory result. I differ however in some of the recommendations below. Most Board Certified Plastic Surgeons close liposuction incisions regardless of the type of liposuction used (Smart Lipo, Ultrasonic liposuction, conventional or PAL - power assisted liposuction. In my more than 2 decades of practice and trying each of these devices, I have not found any prolonged recovery by closing incisions. On the contrary I feel that I have prevented the mess and hassle to the patient. The ultimate scar has a better chance of being smaller if sutured based on my more than a quarter of century of performing liposuction and having used both techniques.

Definitely leave them open!

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The procedure of tumescent liposuction, if that is what you are going to have done, was invented by a dermatologist, Dr. Jeff Klein.  One of the absolutes about what he developed was that the openings were best left open as they healed quicker and with less of a scar than with sutures.

Additionally, the ability for the fluid to drain was significantly improved in this method.  This is one of the huge benefits of doing the true tumescent method along with SmartLipo.  Good luck!

Joel Schlessinger, MD
Omaha Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 50 reviews


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I prefer to leavethem open as it is impossible to suction all of the fluid out during the procedure. The incisions are small and generally heal well

David A. Bray, Sr., MD
Los Angeles Facial Plastic Surgeon

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Better to leave liposuction incisions open.

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1)  The incisions are tiny (one eighth of an inch), and it is best to let the fluid come out.

2)  In my opinion, tumescent liposuction has a much longer record of safety and good results.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

To stitch or not to stich?

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Plastic surgeons do not agree on whether it is better to stitch or not!  My own approach is not to stitch if the opening is so small it doesn't need it and to stitch if it will help the incision heal faster or look better.  There is drainage from the incision whether or not it is stitched. 

Daryl K. Hoffman, MD
San Jose Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Great results either way

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Hi,  This is a good question because there is no concenses on the answer.  When there are two ways to do something, it usually means that both work equally well.  SL incisions are about 4 mm long.  They heal great whether sutured or not.  In my practice I suture any 4 mm incision on the face but leave all the rest of the areas open.  SL has minimal drainage compared to other types of liposuction but draiage will still come through a sutured incision if there is some.  Fluid that does not "drain naturally" through an open incision is absorbed by the body and passed out of the body in the form of urine naturally.  So either way, your body gets rid of the extra fluid it does not need.  Best of luck with your SL.  Dr. Scott Barr

Scott Barr, MD
Sudbury Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.