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How Can You Tell if You Have a Seroma or Just Swelling? I Had a TT 17 Days Ago and Very Puffy Under my Incision

How Can You Tell if You Have a Seroma or Just Swelling? I Had a TT 17 Days Ago and Very Puffy Under my Incision

Doctor Answers (13)

Swelling Versus Seroma


Go see you doctor.  Its easy to tell.  If seroma you will get fluid waves like in the ocean when you tap on one side.  Look in a mirror.  Tap The right side.  Do you see a wave.   Little seromas are hard to see but are insignificant so it does not matter anyway.   Wear a tummy binder as much as you cah on lower abdomen.  This corrects either problem.  If seromadont worry. They go away 99.9% of time.   Sometimes draining a seroma speeds the resolution.  You will be fine.   Best,  Dr Commons

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Seroma after Tummy tuck


As a patient you may be able to distinguish seroma  from swelling by feeling for a fluid wave. If you place your hand on one side of the area of concern and you feel a “wave” sensation with your other hand (on the other side of the area of concern)  you likely have a  seroma.  Your surgeon will be able to make the diagnosis; often, several aspirations may be necessary to resolve the problem.

I hope this helps.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 793 reviews

Diagnosing a seroma after a tummy tuck


You are in the right time frame for a seroma.  It can be differentiated from tissue swelling clinically by tapping on one side of the abdomen and seeing a water-bed like fluid wave rumble across to the other side.  If that doesn't happen, it is probably just tissue swelling.  An ultrasound can also be done to be sure but the need for that is rare.

Richard P. Rand, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 51 reviews

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Seroma vs. Swelling


Significant swelling early in the postop period after drain removal is always concerning for seroma formation.  I will often recommend an ultrasound if I am unsure or sterile drainage if it is palpable.

I would recommend close followup with your plastic surgeon.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Post-operative Swelling Versus Seroma


Please see your surgeon ASAP, as only he/she can make that determination.  In general, seroma will act like a water bed so that if one taps on the skin, small waves will be seen under the skin.  But a small seroma may be difficult to diagnose and only your surgeon can make that determination.

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Your surgeon should know


Please discuss this with your surgeon, he should be able to tell you and reccomend treatment as indicated, good luck.

Vishnu Rumalla, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 87 reviews

"Puffy" abdomen following a tummy tuck


Seromas as well as significant swelling of the abdomen are very common during the period of time that you are at following your abdominoplasty. Typically a seroma will appear as an undulating fluid wave whereas swelling is more firm and fixed.

You should contact your plastic surgeon who can then assess your situation and take appropriate action if indicated.

Steven Turkeltaub, MD
Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Seroma after tummy tuck?


Your surgeon is the best person to consult - you need a physical exam.  Swelling below the incision line or in the pubic area is fairly common following tummy tucks, and this may take a while to completely resolve (but it will!) 

Michelle Spring, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


A fluid wave is what we use to determnine a free fluid collection. It is difficult to determine if you are not trained in this clinical exam. You must go to your plastic surgeon and he can tell immediately. If a seroma he will need to remove the fluid.

Miguel Delgado, Jr., MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Swelling post tummy tuck


see your surgeon. the surgeon is the one to decide what they expected and what is possibly wrong post surgery. it may be normal, it may be fluid that needs to be drained. get to it soon.

Rick Rosen, MD
Norwalk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 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.