Will excess fluid after tummy tuck go away on its own?

Hello. I have fluid underneath my incision line (in my mons pubic area) from a TT that happened 3 weeks ago. It "waves" when pressed and everything I've read indicates that is a seroma and needs to be drained. I went to see my ps about it today and she said she would rather not drain it and to let the body learn to absorb it as it is supposed to. She suggested wearing compression panties in addition to my binder to help compress that particular area. Will this actually resolve itself?

Doctor Answers 3

Will excess fluid after tummy tuck go away on its own?

Thank you for your question.  At times, small amount of fluid at the surgical site can get resorbed without any intervention.  With this option, compression garments and avoidance of strenuous activity can be helpful.  The decision of whether to drain that fluid or not depends on the surgeons' assessment on physical exam.  Make sure that you maintain follow up with your surgeon to ensure resolution of this problem.  Good luck.

Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Large Seroma

Dear Seashell_TX,

A small seroma may absorb on its own with time, say a month or so. I would be a little more concerned if yours is large enough as a layperson to be able to see the fluid wave that it is probably of significant size. If it is that large it should be drained away either with twice a week aspirations or by putting a drain in under local anesthesia. The problem is that if it stays there for a long enough time it will develop a “rind” of its own and be permanent, and then you will need surgery to remove that cyst like wall.

I hope this has been helpful.

Robert D. Wilcox, MD

Robert D. Wilcox, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 13 reviews


Thank you very much for your question.

Sometimes the body is able to absorb seromas, sometimes not.  It depends on the size of the seroma and your body's ability to do the absorbing (everybody is different).  The risk of not draining it is that the body may "wall it off" after a while, and form a "pseudobursa".  If a pseudobursa forms, it's very unlikely that it will disappear on its own, and would need to be removed surgically (if you want it removed).

If the seroma is small, I think it's ok to not drain it, and watch it closely.  If the seroma is large, then I typically do drain them.  Compression is always a good idea with seromas.

I would continue to follow closely with your surgeon.  If the seroma doesn't get smaller quickly, or actually enlarges, ask again about draining it.  It's a simple procedure to do with minimal risk.  Best of luck!

Daniel Krochmal, MD
Chicago General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 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.