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Why Do I Have Seroma After Tummy Tuck?

I am 7 weeks post Tummy Tuck and still have fluid that builds up, though it seems to be decreasing weekly. At last drainage, it was under 10 cc's for a week. I had my surgical drains in for 5 weeks. I have done nothing strenuous and continue to wear my compression garment and have added an abdominal binder. I am starting to feel like this will never go away! I am in my thirties, in good shape and don't understand why this is happening. Could there be something wrong with me that is causing this?

Doctor Answers (3)

Seroma after tummy tuck


Yes, it is "normal.  Be patient and it will probably resolve. It sounds like you have a good, attentive surgeon, so stick with him/her. Everybody is different and recovery varies, but you are certainly within the "normal" range. Good luck.

Frankfort Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

No quick answer...


The first thing you need to appreciate is you have a lot of company....studies show as many as 50% of patients have some fluid under their abdominal flap after a tummy tuck.

As for why you have persistant fluid it could be a number of factors - most of which we don't understand. If you were obese and had bariatric surgery, I often find large vessels when doing a belt lipectomy or tummy tuck. These vessels always need to be tied off and I'm sure they ooze more than patients who have never been heavy.

A small number of patients who have persistant fluid actually develop a "bursa" which needs to be surgically removed to keep fluid from accumulating. With only 10 cc a week it sounds like you don't have one and will be fine soon. Good luck.

Robert Frank, MD
Munster Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Million Dollar Question


Seroma prevention is the holy grail of tummy tuck surgery and there is no universally accepted way to prevent them. Some surgeons advocate tacking down the skin flap to the muscle wall; others recommend creating a "body cast" to prevent fluid buildup; still others have tried injecting a "glue" so that the skin flap will stick to the muscle.

Treating an established collection, or "seroma" has its own set of different approaches.

In summary, seromas are extremely common and it sounds as if you are doing everything right and there is nothing "wrong with you." It is encouraging that so little has been coming out of the drains so hopefully the process will resolve soon.

Good Luck!

Jeffrey Horowitz, MD
Bel Air Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

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