Surgical Drain After Smart Lipo?

Is it necessary to get a surgical drain installed after Smart Lipo? The fat will be liquified using the Smart Lipo laser, then suctioned out (i.e. not left for the body to dissolve on its own). I am getting conflicting information as to whether, prior to this procedure, a surgical drain should be installed. One doctor says it will give a "flatter stomach" and help to reduce swelling, another says it will increase the risk of infection. I have no idea who is correct. Please help ASAP!

Doctor Answers 3

Drain usage with SmartLipo, Vaser, Power Assisted Liposuction, or Standard Tumescent Liposuction

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No drain is required for any type of liposuction, unless another surgical procedure was performed at the same time.  This would be seen during gynecomastia (male breast) surgery, tummy tuck surgery, or other procedures involving both liposuction and traditional surgery at the same time.  However, the drains are placed only in the surgically involved areas, not in regions that are only liposuctioned.

Paramus Plastic Surgeon

Surgical drains are not needed after smartlipo liposuction

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In my experience surgical drains are never needed after liposuction surgery. After smartlipo liposuction drainage normally ceases on its own between 12-24 hours post procedure.

Edward Lack, MD
Chicago Dermatologist

Drains and fluids after surgery and liposuction

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Different surgeons perform surgery differently. Some use drains and others don't on facelifts. Those that do, feel that less accumulated fluid allows for less chance of infection and others feel that drains left in may allow an increased risk of infection. This is similar to the decision of not suturing insertion liposuction sites to allow them to drain vs. suturing them.  Most surgeons do not use drains in liposuction though. Most of the anesthetic fluid will resorb and although there is a chance of hematomoa and seroma (collections of blood and serum) this is rare.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

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.