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Discharge After Tummy Tuck an Infection?

I don't think this is normal: I had a Tummy Tuck done 10 days ago and there's some clear discharge. That small hole with the yellow inside scares me. I don't have fever, but I suspect it's an infection. I'm really worried. I have been putting some neosporin in the last two days but it feels like it's getting worse. Please help!

Doctor Answers 11

See your surgeon

If it is clear yellow fluid coming out of a drain hole, it is probably serous fluid. It is a good thing that it is coming out rather collecting inside. This is normal for a few days after a drain is pulled. If it is more like chicken broth with fat droplets, it could be a little liquified fat. Infection is usually opaque white or green. In any case, do not rely on email advice. Go see your surgeon.

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

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Go back to your doctor

Unless you are having fevers of more pus like drainage, this is likely serous fluid coming out of an incision.  Keeping gauze on it and changing it when needed will usually allow this to dry up.  Of course, these are all issues your doctor would want to know about.

Small Wound Breakdown

What you're describing is a small wound breakdown likely secondary to blood supply, serum and surgery. Don't worry this is not uncommon. The fluid is normal serous or body fluid that is coming out of the wound that developed due to tissue breakdown.

Long and short of it is you will be fine as only as you continue to use the Newsprint or Bestirring and wait for the tissue to heal. In fact these wounds usually don't scar any differently than the original incision. So take heart, you'll be fine.

Discharge from incision after a tummy tuck

Go back to your surgeon. You can get 100 different opinions from the web, but your best bet is to have your surgeon examine the area. This discharge after Tummy Tuck is not uncommon.

Jack Gelman, MD
Frankfort Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

See your physician for yellow drainage from tummy tuck wound

You did not specify where this is coming from? The belly button or the incision.

In either case, you can have clear discharge which typcially comes from one of two sources:

  1. If it is clear, yellow and slightly oily, it may be a sign of some fat necrosis which does occur particularly in the central portion of the incision. This is associated with firmness of the surrounding tissues but is NOT a sign of infection
  2. If it is clear and yellow orange, it also could be a self draining seroma, a collection of serum (clear portion of the blood). This also is not an infection but has the potential to become infected and should be drained or monitored.

In any case, seek your surgeon's attention to assess and treat if necessary.

I hope this helps!

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

See your surgeon

Drainage after a tummy tuck is not a common occurrence. Drainage 10 days after the procedure could indicate an infection or a seroma (fluid build up). An infection typically presents with some or all of the following: fever, redness, increased pain around the area, yellowish discharge that is usually thick, hardness of the tissue around the area, an opening in the wound. A seroma typically presents with some or all of the following: redness, hardness around the area, thin yellow or clear discharge, a small wound opening.

Many surgeons use a drainage tube when they do tummy tucks to collect excess fluid and try to prevent a seroma. If you did not have drainage tubes, and you developed a seroma, it is likely coming out of a small opening... which is usually a good thing since we do not want that fluid trapped inside!

In either case, this is not something we can evaluate over the internet. Please see your surgeon. Good luck.

Sirish Maddali, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon

Clear or thin yellow discharge is common


I would certainly keep your doctor informed, but clear or thin, yellow discharge from a small opening does not always mean infection. Infection usually has an accompanying fever, thicker discharge and redness over the skin.

Clear discharge may just be serous fluid that has not been reabsorbed. Do get checked out by your doctor to make sure you also don't have a seroma, an accumulation of that serous fluid that needs to be aspirated.

Francisco Canales, MD
Santa Rosa Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 16 reviews

Discharge After Tummy Tuck

It is common for there to be discharge after your tummy tuck, even 10 days after your surgery. If it's clear or even pinkish it is generally fine. However, you should ask your surgeon about it if you are concerned.

Most likely a seroma

Sounds like you might have a small collection of serous fluid under the skin flap. This is not dangerous, but should be drained by your plastic surgeon. Its a good idea to contact him/her as soon as possible and let them know whats going on. I would continue with the neosporin untul you see your surgeon.

Robert M. Jensen, MD
Medford Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 22 reviews

Where is your surgeon?

Hi.   Drainage and redness after abdominoplasty is definitely not normal.

In New York City, we would culture the drainage, put you on antibiotics, and possibly get a sonogram.

If you had your diastasis repaired with permanent stitches, the drainage could even indicate a deep infection.

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