Ask a doctor

Chronic Seroma After Tummy Tuck

I developed a seroma after having a large tummy tuck. Dr. placed drains back in, and I continued to drain for one month. Then he took me back to surgery and removed a large seroma pocket which extened my entire tummy.

He also placed new drains and I have been wearing my binder two weeks after this procedure I am still draining about 200cc/day total (4 drains). What should I do?

Doctor Answers (6)

Seromas and tummy tucks

+2

It sounds like  your doctor did the right thing by removing the seroma cavity. Be patient, and follow your doctor's advice.


Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 18 reviews

Seroma and Tummy Tuck

+1
Dear 57,
Thank you for your post. Seromas can be painful and cause a cosmetic deformity, as well as sometimes leak. The whole point of drains is to keep a seroma from happening in the first place. If a drainless procedure was performed, and you had a seroma, or you had drains that were pulled and you subsequently had a seroma, then you should be drained, otherwise a capsule builds around the fluid making it permanent. If a capsule builds around the seroma (pseudo bursa or encapsulated seroma) then the only way to remove the seroma is to surgically open the areas and excise the capsule, and close over drains to prevent another seroma from happening. If the seroma is encapsulated and is tight and painful, then it can be confused with just swelling or fat. An ultrasound is useful in distinguishing these and identifying the extent of the seroma. If the seroma is not yet encapsulated, then it is usually loose and has a 'fluid wave' or water bed type feel. Occasionally, a seroma can also become infected, especially if a permanent braided suture was used. This will have a hot, red appearance, and will eventually open up.  It sounds like your surgeon is treating you appropriately.  Sometimes seromas can occur despite the best treatment.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Chronic seroma after he tummy tuck

+1

Tummy tucks are a very popular and effective way to contour the abdomen. Like all surgery, tummy tucks to carry some risk. One unfortunate complication is the development of a seroma. As a seroma begins to develop, your plastic surgeon may choose to drain it with a needle and syringe. After this drainage, it is essential that you wear a tight compression garment to prevent the fluid from reaccumulating. If the seroma returns, it is possible that the inside of the seroma has created a wall tissue that is now producing that fluid. Your surgeon may open a small portion of the incision and place a small wick in this area to help the seroma close. Another option is to perform a small surgery to remove the wall of scar tissue that continues to produce this fluid.

To learn more about tummy tucks, see photos, and help you decide which one is best for you, please visit us at the link below:

Pat Pazmino, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 69 reviews

You might also like...

Sounds like your doctor is managing seroma correctly

+1

Your doctor is managing the seroma correctly. Hopefully, in time, the drainage will continue to decrease until it is small enough to remove the drains.

Occaisionally, after very prolonged periods of drainage, a membrane can form around the seroma and prevent closure of the pocket. I am sure your doctor was looking for this and addressed the problem during the re-surgery.

It sounds to me like you are being managed properly, so it is important to follow your doctors plan.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Persistent and recurrent seroma after tummy tuck

+1

This is quite unusual but it sounds as if your surgeon is delivering appropriate care and management of your condition. In some instances "sclerosants" or quititing sutures may be required to obliterate the space.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Everything Sounds Right

+1

Your surgeon clearly understands the nature of seromas. He took you back to the OR because the seroma cavity will start to get a rind or start of a capsule with will impede the recovery.

It's often just a matter of time for the fluid to slow down. Remember it's that the body has to reestablish the tiny, one cell layer thick lymphatic vessels that return that fluid to the rest of the body. Time will heal.

Christopher L. Hess, MD
Fairfax Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 19 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.