4 days post-op, tummy tuck with drains. I think I have a seroma. How does this happen? Does having it aspirated hurt?

Doctor Answers 7

Post op TT

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Hi and thanks for the question. You should make sure that you are examined by your surgeon to answer this question. It is unusual to have a seroma with drains in place this soon out from surgery. Best of Luck - Dr Hardy...

Jacksonville Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Seroma unusual at 4 days post op

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It is pretty unusual to have a seroma so soon after your surgery. My guess is that what you are experiencing is post op swelling, but this is definitely something that you need to have assessed in person by your surgeon. 


Kouros Azar

Kouros Azar, MD
Thousand Oaks Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

4 days post-op, tummy tuck with drains. I think I have a seroma. How does this happen? Does having it aspirated hurt?

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Thank you for sharing your question and congratulations on your tummy tuck.  I am sorry to hear of your seroma issues and I would recommend seeing your surgeon for an in-person examination and appropriate diagnosis.  Most commonly 4 days after surgery you are more likely to have routine swelling of the tissues of your stomach and not a discrete fluid collection. If you do have a seroma your surgeon will be able to draw the fluid away in the office and can numb the area prior to this aspiration.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Seroma with drains

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It would be unusual to have a seroma this early after a tummy tuck. The drains are placed to prevent the accumulation of fluid in the surgical space. There may be however, be fluid in the soft tissues. This is normal and should resolve with time. Check in with your plastic surgeon to make sure all is good.

Eric Weiss MD

Eric Weiss, MD, FACS
Orange Park Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Seroma four days after tummy tuck

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The drains are in place to remove the fluid that can build up and cause a seroma.  As long as they are in the right location and functioning to drain the surgical space, you should not develop a seroma.   If you feel that there is fluid buildup beyond normal swelling, please bring this to the attention of your surgeon. You should also make sure that the drains are not clogged. If you feel this is the case, discuss this with your surgeon so he or she can instruct you on how to clear the blockage. You most likely have normal postoperative swelling at this point because it has only been four days since your surgery.  Discuss this with your surgeon for reassurance. That's wishes to you!

Erik Miles, MD, FACS
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews


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Reasons for seromas are varied.  Early seromas are due to small amounts of blood attracting fluid into the space between the abdominal wall and the overlying flap.  These are prevented through drain placement and vigorous garment use.  Late seromas are usually due to early active twisting and flexion at the hip prior to the flaps sealing completely.  They are both uncommon in my practice, but can occur.  Please contact your surgeon ASAP!  Seromas are much easier to correct before the cavity serossilize.  If this occurs, surgical correction will need to be undertaken to remove the cavity. 

Oliver P. Simmons, MD, FACS
Columbia Plastic Surgeon

Seroma after tummy tuck

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Generally the drains are there to prevent a seroma, so it would be odd to have developed a seroma with drains in place. You may just be experiencing post-op swelling in your soft tissues that is normal right after a tummy tuck. I recommend contacting your surgeon so he/she can evaluate the area to let you know if there is a seroma. 

Best wishes in your recovery,

Dr. Blagg

Austin, TX

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.