Fluid Retention on my Belly After Lipo, Do I Really Need to Get It out with a Syringe??

20 days p/o. Surgery done abroad. Last day overthere, 16 day p/o, while having my ldm they found a few little pockets of fluid.They removed 2 of them but the last one was very painful so I didn't let them touch it. Now 3 days later I have another pocket of fluid and it's much larger than the other ones and I still have the little one I didn't let them touch. What could happen if I don't get that fluid out? And it's possible to use anesthesia in the area to get it out? Where can I go to do it?

Doctor Answers 10

Sounds like a seroma

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It sounds like you have seroma, or fluid accumulation below the skin surface. You may need repeated aspirations to correct it. It is a fairly standard procedure and your primary care physician should be able to perform this. If not, you can contact your local plastic surgeon as well. The painful area can be locally anesthetized to make the procedure tolerable. To prevent the seroma from reoccurring, it is very important to wear a compression garment and decrease activity in the area.

If the problem persists, there is other slightly more invasive solutions. One would be to instill antibiotic that will cause some inflammation to the seroma wall, causing it to collapse. Another solution would be to surgically remove the capsule that is causing the fluid build up . 

San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Fluid collection after liposuction

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It is possible to develop local fluid collections, or seromas, after liposuction. If there is associated bleeding in the area then these are hematomas. You should be evaluated by a plastic surgeon to determine if these need to be aspirated. Although they may sometimes resorb on their own, significant collections may lead to problems such as infections and abscesses if not treated appropriately and in a timely manner.

Olivia Hutchinson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon

Fluid after liposuction

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After liposuction fluid may develop and collect. Compression garments are necessary to reduce swelling and fluid collection.

Recurring fluid collection post liposuction

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If the fluid collection has recurred, it is important to drain the area and provide external compression (abdominal binder) to minimize recurrence.   If it recurs, your surgeon may consider a sclerosing agent or drain placement.   If these treatment options do not address the problem, surgery may be indicated to remove the capsule and drain the cavity.  

Local anesthetic can be administered prior to percutaneous drainage with the syringe to aid in your comfort and this procedure can be performed in the office.    Capsule excision with drain placement will require an outpatient surgery.  

I wish you a safe recovery.


Paul S. GIll M.D.

Gill Plastic Surgery

Houston Double Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Recurrent Fluid Collections After Liposuction

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I am going to leave out the lecture on Medical Tourism.  It advisable to have your seromas removed before they either become infected or become persistent/permanent.  Local anesthesia can be used on the skin decrease the discomfort.  Drains may need to be placed over a period of time to resolve the issue.

Dr. ES

Seroma after liposuction

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If there is a true pocket of fluid in the subcutaneous cavity, it should be drained to prevent the possibility of infection. Often a culture is taken of the fluid as a preacaution. If it doesn't stop draining, a drain may be inserted, a fluid may be injected to "sclerose" the cavity and eventually surgery may be needed to close up the space so fluid doesn't tend to reaccumulate. See a plastic surgeon here.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Another problem with surgery abroad!

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This needs to be done, and local anesthesia can be used if aspiration is painful. Leaving the seroma in does allow a pseudobursa to form, which can require an incision (scar) and can lead to irregularities in the final result. Trust me, a needle is the smaller of the two undesired treatments. If you simply ignore this, I would anticipate a firm area of scar fibrosis to develop. This is not good, and can lead to contour deformity, permanent firmness, or re-operation.

Since you can't go to your surgeon for follow-up, you will have to find a local plastic surgeon who will be kind enough to deal with your problem, although you rejected him/her as worthy of doing your surgery. Good luck.

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews


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It sounds like you developed a seroma. If you do not get it evacuated, it may not resorb and you may develop a pseudobursa with fluid that will need surgery to remove it. They can also become infected.

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

After liposuction, seromas need to be aspirated to prevent deformity.

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You need this done right away and maybe more than once.  You may need a drain inserted also. Of course, anesthesia can be used.

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

Danger of medical tourism: Why/Who treats chronic seroma now that your back in states

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Alhough observation of your seromas may be performed by some surgeons, most advise aspiration to minimize the potential for a pseudocyst formation and/or the possibility of secondary infection. Either of these complications may need to be treated with surgery. Therefore ongoing needle aspirations are typically carried out and usually performed without anesthesia. You could consider asking for an oral anxiolytic or topical anesthetic to diminihsh the pain and anxiety associated with the aspirations 

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.