7 weeks post tummy tuck and I'm still draining 50-60 ccs per day. Is there anything I can do to help the drainage stop?

I had an infected seroma during week 3 when the doc initially removed the drains although I was still draining 60+ccs daily . We've switched anitbiotics, and I continue to take them-- no signs of infection for 2+ weeks. But the draining continues at the same rate. I wear the compression garment 20+ hours per day and limit activity. What happens if the drainage doesn't stop? I'm female, 49, and otherwise healthy; I lost 50 pounds naturally pre-surgery.

Doctor Answers 5

Persistent Drainage Output

Hello,It is unlikely your output volume will decrease, and your drain should be removed sooner than later. It is almost assured you will have a seroma, and may develop an infection as well, however keeping it in longer will not change this course. Have a discussion with your surgeon and encourage him to move forward. Best of luck!

Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 90 reviews

Drainage after tummy tuck

You are doing the two non-surgical things to help limit drainage in your situation (compression and limiting activity). The next steps would be re-inserting a drain and sclerosing the cavity as others have said, and/or surgically excising the scar tissue lining which may lead to a faster and more predictable resolution.

Jonathan D. Kramer, MD
Meridian Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

If your seroma doesn't stop

your options are to reinsert a drain and sclerose the cavity or return to the OR and have the lining of the cavity removed and sutures used to anchor the skin down to the tummy.  Most start with the sclerosing but the later is the more sure thing.

Curtis Wong, MD
Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your question. Persisting drainage after tummy tucks surgery is not very common.  Having an infected seroma can definitely create issues but if your surgeon removed all the fluid this should eventually resolve.  In my patients I would want to know if the suture that was used is a permanent suture or an absorbable suture.  Sometimes a permanent suture can become contaminated if there was an infection and can cause continued drainage until it’s removed.  Also, if the body welds off that infection and the cavity stays behind it can continue to drain.  I would recommend speaking with your surgeon, having a conversation about what is the plan, what is the end point if the drainage doesn’t stop, and at what point would you need to go back to surgery if at all. 
Best wishes. 

Daniel Careaga, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 88 reviews

Chronic seroma

I am sorry that you are having issues about your procedure and thanks for sharing your question. I can appreciate your concern.

After 7 weeks of non controlled seroma, it is unlikely that things get any better.  Seroma cavity revision may be an alternative to control your problem.
Finally, make sure that your doctor is aware of your process. He should be able to guide you best in your care.

Wishing you the best in your journey

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.