Fluid Buildup After Lipoma

I had a Lipoma surgically removed from my rib area. Surgery was one week ago, I have a lot of fluid buildup which is very uncomfortable. No drain tube was used. Is this normal? How long does the fluid buildup last?

Doctor Answers 4

Seroma after Lipoma removal not normal, but common


Fluid buildup means the space hasn't healed down well and fluid has filled the pocket where the tumor used to live. This is called "Seroma." It can happen from time to time, especially in larger cases.

I usually drain them with a needle in the office. How long have you had it? Have you seen your surgeon? You should have seen someone after the surgery for follow-up.

Orange Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

1 week fluid collection

What you are experiencing seems normal.  Your very early after surgery.  Fluid accumulation is not uncommon.  Continue to follow closely with her plastic surgeon.  This will resolve given more time.  You should also know that there is always a chance of having a fluid collection such as a seroma.  If you have this, your plastic surgeon will be able to diagnose and treat this very efficiently.

Raj S. Ambay, MD
Tampa Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

Seroma following Lipoma Removal

What you describe is a seroma, or collection of serum in the empty raw space where the lipoma used to be. The back seems to have a propensity to develop these and drains are often removed there if a large one is removed but usually not in the front over the ribs unless there are special circumstance. Essentially it is your surgeons judgement at the time that makes this decision.. Fortunately it will  resolve but some are persistent and take a long time. Occasionally a new drain needs to be placed. An elastic vest is helpful, decreasing movement associated with exercise, and in rare cases injection of tetracycline with a drain in place is required (see below reference).

Larry S. Nichter, MD, MS, FACS
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Fluid build up and seroma after a lipoma surgery

After a lipoma surgery, it is possible to develop a collection of fluid in the area. If your surgeon anticipated this day would choose to put a drain at the site to help remove the fluid until your body can absorb the excess fluid on its own. If you have a fluid collection without a drain, your best that is to be seen by your surgeon who may elect to place a small needle into this collection and withdraw fluid. This will allow the wound heal as best possible. Your surgeon should recommend compression at this site to help prevent the reinstallation of fluid.

Pat Pazmino, MD, FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 108 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.