Does Swollen Breast Need Drainage After Augmentation and Lift?

I had breast lift and breast implants 16 days ago through areolar incision. My right side is great, but my left is still swollen and hurts a bit. Is this normal? Do you see this a lot? Do I need to have it drained or will it be okay soon? I know everyone is different, but I have to be in a honeymoon in 5 weeks in Aruba, and I dont want to be hurting too much then. Thank you.

Doctor Answers 17

Uneven swelling after breast lift with augmentation

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Some asymmetry between the breasts is not unusual in the early post-operative period, but significant change in volume should be evaluated immediately by your plastic surgeon to rule out blood or fluid collection which may require drainage.

New York Plastic Surgeon

Asymmetric Swelling After Augmentation Mastopexy

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It is normal to see some differences between the breasts, but the amount seen in your photograph suggests a fluid collection: either serum or blood.

You must be seen by your plastic surgeon for evaluation, as you may require drainage, sooner, rather than later!

Paul C. Zwiebel, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 46 reviews

I would recommend seeing your surgeon

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

It's difficult to know what exactly is going on without an examination, but if you have a large amount of fluid present around your implant, this may develop into an infection and potentially threaten the implant (the implant could need to be removed).

I would see your surgeon so he can assess you-- with an exam and perhaps an ultrasound, he will be able to see if you have a seroma, a hematoma, and if there is any drainage present. Given the amount of asymmetry that you have, I think he'd want to see you anyway for a routine check up.

Good luck,

Dr. S

Shahram Salemy, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 155 reviews

When to drain a breast after breast lift surgery

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


If you have concerns about excessive swelling or fullness after a breast lift surgery, is extremely important to follow up with the plastic surgeon to perform the surgery for you. This may be a sign of a collection of fluid, blood, or infection deep inside the breast. Only plastic surgeon will be able to determine which is the case. If it is a collection of fluid, or blood, you may require an additional small surgery to open the wound removed this fluid and stopped the cause of the food production. If your plastic surgeon determines that you have no collection they may recommend ice or a compress to help alleviate the swelling during the healing process.

Swelling of breasts after augmentation and lift

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Differential swelling of the breasts after a breast augmentation and a lift is not unusual. However, the amount of swelling that you have in your left breast is significant and may represent a hematoma.  See your doctor ASAP.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Unusual swelling after augmentation can mean bleeding

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

I don't wish to cause alarm, but the unusual swelling on one side, at least a cup size in your breast may indicate bleeding into the breast implant pocket called a hematoma. Bleeding untreated can lead to prolonged bruising and breast pain, and capsular contracture. We suggest a snug bra for support and an immediate visit to your surgeon.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 44 reviews

You need drainage for sure!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Assuming your breasts were not naturally so asymmetric, you have a hematoma on your left side and need it drained asap.  Please call your surgeon this weekend and get it done Monday.  You'll be back on track for your trip.

You probably have a hematoma.

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Hi.  You either have a hematoma (collection of blood) or a seroma (collection of liquid).  Whichever it is, it needs to be drained right away.  I recommend a sonogram to help figure out what's wrong.  But don't leave this alone!

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon

Go visit your surgeon!

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Based on your picture, I am very concerned that you have a hematoma in your left breast. You should go have your surgeon evaluate you. If it is a hematoma, the sooner you get it addressed surgically, the faster your overall recovery will be. (You can still go to Aruba, but get this assessed quickly!)

Could be a hematoma

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}


With the brief history you give and that photograph, I would say that you have a hematoma. A hematoma is bleeding that occurs under the skin. In the case of breast augmentation, usually around the implant. It is associated with excessive swelling and pain. You really to see your surgeon and give him all of the specifics of when the size increase and pain occurred. Hematomas, unless they are very small, should be drained. They can cause capsular contracture and hardening of your breasts. Good luck!

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.