Florida woman’s post-butt-lift massages are a public health risk, the state says

David J. Neal
Associated Press

Miami – For at least three years, Miramar, Florida, masseuse Cristina Diaz has done lymphatic drainage massages that shove blood and fluids through surgical slits after plastic surgery such as liposuction or Brazilian Butt Lifts.

On Dec. 1, Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees issued an emergency order for Diaz to stop. The order stated she did them in a manner that endangered the public health and her license didn’t allow her to do them anyway.

On Dec. 3, Diaz advertised on Instagram account bychrissdiaz: “Available appointments in December! Book your appointment now!!!” – with hashtags for Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL), liposuction and lymphatic drainage massage.

Florida, masseuse Cristina Diaz advertised on an Instagram account.

“Ms. Diaz willfully abused her position as a massage therapist to advertise and engage in dangerous practices outside the scope of her license,” the emergency restriction order states. “She subjected herself, her patients, the public and an undetermined number of associates to a needless risk of infection due to her failure to use the proper precautions for handling biomedical waste.

“Ms. Diaz’s actions demonstrate that she poses a significant danger to patients as long as she continues to improperly perform post-surgical drainage massages.”

A phone message and a text to the number on Diaz’s Instagram post were not answered as of Friday morning.

State records say Diaz has been a licensed massage therapist in Florida since Sept. 12, 2012. And, while opinions aren’t unanimous among plastic surgeons, there’s no shortage who recommend lymphatic drainage massage after certain surgeries.

But, in Florida, being licensed to do one kind of massage doesn’t give you license to do the other. This differentiation was made clear in 2017.

Angela Lind, a licensed massage therapist since 2005, asked the Florida Board of Massage Therapy in a Petition for Declaratory Statement if her license allowed her “to force or push blood or body fluids out of open wounds and surgical incisions.”

The Board said, “Manual lymphatic draining alleviates the swelling and bruising that occur after surgery. The majority of Petitioner’s clients who request manual lymphatic draining are individuals recovering from cosmetic surgery.”

But, the definition of “massage,” the Board concluded, “does not include exuding fluids from open wounds.”

The Diaz emergency restriction order referred back to this ruling. But that’s only where the state’s problem with Diaz started.

The ERO said while checking out an unlicensed post-surgery recovery home in Miami Gardens named Posh Wellness Recovery Home, a Florida Agency for Health Care Administration investigator spotted an ad stating, “Recovery House Have In-House Drainage Massage” by “Chriss Diaz & Team.”

While the ad included no license number, it did include the “bychrissdiaz” Instagram account name and telephone numbers.

“The investigator was informed that Ms. Diaz performed massages at Posh Wellness,” the ERO said.

The ERO noted the account promised “Licensed and Certified Massage Therapists. MOBILE. Cosmetic Post OP team.” Among the now-616 posts were ads for “Diaz & Team,” but also photos and videos of clients undergoing drainage massages.

The Department of Health had an unnamed “expert” look at the Instagram posts. Those opinions were included in the restriction order.

– Some posts show Diaz and others, the ERO said, “pressing around surgical incision sites to drain and forcefully expel large quantities of blood and other fluids from the patients’ surgical wounds.”

The expert said “a properly performed lymphatic massage uses ‘sequences of gentle strokes to stimulate the flow of fluid through the lymphatic system,’” and “the techniques used by Ms. Diaz and her associates create a dangerous risk of infection to both the therapist and the patient.”

– “The videos often show pads soaked with the expressed bodily fluids; however there do not appear to be any biohazard containers or other appropriate means of disposal for these fluid-soaked pads nearby.”

Also, Diaz and others “wear only gloves and face masks for personal protection.”

The expert “observed that Diaz failed to use proper universal precautions when handling bodily fluids.”

The ERO stated, “Ms. Diaz’s conduct of expressing bodily fluids from surgical incisions in non-surgical, public areas, such as hotel room sand other rental properties, exposes the public to health risks associated with blood-borne illnesses and her clients to increased risks of infection.”