How do I know if my swelling after liposuction (I am 1 week post op today) is normal or If I am forming a seroma?

Had my 1 week post-op apt today after lipo to inner/outer thighs & flanks, w a nurse instead of Dr bc he is on vaca. I formed a large pocket of swelling on my lower back- not in a lot of pain but the swelling is sizable and the nurse mentioned it too. Now I'm on these boards and learned about Seromas wondering if I have one? next appt isn't for a week & 3 days- if It is a seroma, would I need to be treated for this before my next appt Or is it something that can wait another week & a half about?

Doctor Answers 7


Hello. You should never had let a nurse practice a surgery on you, with the respect all nurses deserves, they do an excellent job in their area. Returning to seroma, clinically we realize if we have a seroma if we have what we call " liquid waves " . If it is a large seroma it should be drained by suction with a needle and then place a compression garment. At the same time we must always cover with antibiotics while this is resolved .

Dominican Republic Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

What to do with questions after #liposuction and #plasticsurgery

Thank you for your question about a possible seroma forming after your liposuction procedure.  You should discuss this in person with your board certified plasticsurgeon as soon as possible for evaluation.  If you have a seroma it will need to be aspirated and you will require new compression.   Very best.
-Brian S. Coan, MD, FACS

Brian Coan, MD, FACS
Raleigh-Durham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Worried about swelling after liposuction

Thank you for asking about your liposuction.

  • I am sorry your doctor is out of town -
  • Seromas are unusual but can occur -
  • Your surgeon would have another surgeon covering his practice.
  • Call your surgeon's office and ask to be directed to the covering surgeon so s/he can check you for a seroma.
  • Or ask the office to order an ultrasound of the area - it will show a seroma.
  • If your surgeon is not a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon it would be better to see one because seromas, not correctly treatment, may not go away.
Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
Hope you found this answer helpful. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Seroma Post Liposuction

Please go see a board certified physician who performs this types of procedures regularly to ensure you are okay.  If there is a seroma, youd need aspiration, new compression, ultrasound/RF treatments regularly to ensure no scar tissue forms.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 190 reviews

Postop Liposuction

A seroma will often present with swelling and a fluid wave in the area. Recommend examination by your plastic surgeon ASAP to determine if the area needs to be drained. 

Jeff Walding, MD, FACS
Dothan Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 9 reviews


It is not possible to tell if you have a seroma without an exam.  Even then it may be difficult to tell.  I would not wait 10 days if you  have a seroma; early treatment is better.  Ask to be seen again on Monday. 

If the nurse is not sure either, ask if there is a covering physician who could evaluate. 

Good Luck

James D. Frost, MD
Pensacola Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Seroma after liposuction is extremely rare.

Seroma after conventional liposuction is almost unheard of. When laser or ultrasound are used as adjuncts it is more often seen. It is not an emergency but your own surgeon should have a colleague available to check you if there is concern.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 35 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.