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Does Swollen Breast Need Drainage After Augmentation and Lift?

I had breast lift and breast implants 16 days ago through areolar incision. My right side is great, but my left is still swollen and hurts a bit. Is this normal? Do you see this a lot? Do I need to have it drained or will it be okay soon? I know everyone is different, but I have to be in a honeymoon in 5 weeks in Aruba, and I dont want to be hurting too much then. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 16

Uneven swelling after breast lift with augmentation

Some asymmetry between the breasts is not unusual in the early post-operative period, but significant change in volume should be evaluated immediately by your plastic surgeon to rule out blood or fluid collection which may require drainage.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

121A East 83rd Street
New York, NY 10028

I would recommend seeing your surgeon

It's difficult to know what exactly is going on without an examination, but if you have a large amount of fluid present around your implant, this may develop into an infection and potentially threaten the implant (the implant could need to be removed).

I would see your surgeon so he can assess you-- with an exam and perhaps an ultrasound, he will be able to see if you have a seroma, a hematoma, and if there is any drainage present. Given the amount of asymmetry that you have, I think he'd want to see you anyway for a routine check up.

Good luck,

Dr. S

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

1101 Madison Street
Seattle, WA 98104

Asymmetric Swelling After Augmentation Mastopexy

It is normal to see some differences between the breasts, but the amount seen in your photograph suggests a fluid collection: either serum or blood.

You must be seen by your plastic surgeon for evaluation, as you may require drainage, sooner, rather than later!

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

2050 E County Line Rd
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126

When to drain a breast after breast lift surgery


If you have concerns about excessive swelling or fullness after a breast lift surgery, is extremely important to follow up with the plastic surgeon to perform the surgery for you. This may be a sign of a collection of fluid, blood, or infection deep inside the breast. Only plastic surgeon will be able to determine which is the case. If it is a collection of fluid, or blood, you may require an additional small surgery to open the wound removed this fluid and stopped the cause of the food production. If your plastic surgeon determines that you have no collection they may recommend ice or a compress to help alleviate the swelling during the healing process.

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 67 reviews

848 Brickell Avenue
Miami, FL 33131

Swelling of breasts after augmentation and lift

Differential swelling of the breasts after a breast augmentation and a lift is not unusual. However, the amount of swelling that you have in your left breast is significant and may represent a hematoma.  See your doctor ASAP.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

1049 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10028

Unusual swelling after augmentation can mean bleeding

I don't wish to cause alarm, but the unusual swelling on one side, at least a cup size in your breast may indicate bleeding into the breast implant pocket called a hematoma. Bleeding untreated can lead to prolonged bruising and breast pain, and capsular contracture. We suggest a snug bra for support and an immediate visit to your surgeon.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 36 reviews

8901 West Golf Road
Des Plaines, IL 60016

You need drainage for sure!

Assuming your breasts were not naturally so asymmetric, you have a hematoma on your left side and need it drained asap.  Please call your surgeon this weekend and get it done Monday.  You'll be back on track for your trip.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

1135 116th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004

You probably have a hematoma.

Hi.  You either have a hematoma (collection of blood) or a seroma (collection of liquid).  Whichever it is, it needs to be drained right away.  I recommend a sonogram to help figure out what's wrong.  But don't leave this alone!

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

875 Park Ave at 78th Street
New York, NY 10075

Go visit your surgeon!

Based on your picture, I am very concerned that you have a hematoma in your left breast. You should go have your surgeon evaluate you. If it is a hematoma, the sooner you get it addressed surgically, the faster your overall recovery will be. (You can still go to Aruba, but get this assessed quickly!)

Michael A. Bogdan, MD, FACS
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

410 North Carroll Avenue
Southlake, TX 76092

Could be a hematoma


With the brief history you give and that photograph, I would say that you have a hematoma. A hematoma is bleeding that occurs under the skin. In the case of breast augmentation, usually around the implant. It is associated with excessive swelling and pain. You really to see your surgeon and give him all of the specifics of when the size increase and pain occurred. Hematomas, unless they are very small, should be drained. They can cause capsular contracture and hardening of your breasts. Good luck!

Kenneth R. Francis, MD, FACS
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

114 E. 71st Street
New York, NY 10021

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.