How Long is Too Long to Wait to Drain an Abdominal Seroma? I Am Almost 3 Weeks Post Op and Ten Days Post Seroma.

I was out of town when the seroma developed. I just got back and the dr. will drain it tomorrow but I had to wait ten days because I was away. Is this too long and have I jeapordized having a good outcome because of the 10-day wait? It developed my first day out of town; I think there is a quite a bit of fluid sloshinga round my lower abdomen right now. I had a hematoma on flank which seems to have fully resolved on its own, did this cause the fluid though?

Doctor Answers 11

It's fine to drain a tummy tuck seroma at 3 weeks.


If it keeps recurring, though, we have an interventional radiologist insert  a drain under ultrasound control.  Because the seroma can organize and become internal scar tissue (that is, a lump).

Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

How Long is Too Long to Wait to Drain an Abdominal Seroma? I Am Almost 3 Weeks Post Op and Ten Days Post Seroma.

Some seromas last for months so don't worry about a few days. Most resolve in a few weeks and don't cause any long term problems.

Kurtis Martin, MD
Cincinnati Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 74 reviews

Seroma should be addressed!

Seroma formation is a common problem following tummy tuck surgery.In an effort to minimize this complication, surgeons utilize drains in the post-operative period.These drains are typically left in place for 7 to 14 days following surgery.They are usually removed when drainage drops below 25 cc per 24 hours.
After the drains are removed, seroma fluid can continue to develop for a limited period of time.In most cases, the body reabsorbs this fluid before it can develop into a seroma.In some cases, this fluid accumulates faster than the body’s capacity to reabsorb it.When this occurs, seroma formation can result.This occurs more frequently when patients are physically active.
Once a seroma forms, serial percutaneous aspirations with a needle and syringe are necessary.If this continues, percutaneous CT-guided drain placement may be necessary.In rare cases, placing a sclerosing agent into the seroma cavity may be necessary to prevent seroma formation.
Although most seromas don’t represent a significant problem, they should be removed.Seroma removal helps decrease the potential for infection and wound breakdown.It also makes recovery a more comfortable experience.The vast majority of seromas have resolved in 6 weeks but occasionally they persist for longer periods of time.Clinically significant seromas can usually be felt on physical examination.Lesser amounts of seroma may be present in most patients but these don’t require treatment.A 10-day delay in treatment probably won’t affect your final result.

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Seroma after Tummy Tuck

I do think that your seroma can be safely treated with prompt attention by your plastic surgeon.   Generally, the longer the seroma has been present, the more difficult it is to heal.

I would recommend staying in town as much as possible until this resolves to allow your plastic surgeon to closely monitor your recovery.

Paul S. Gill, MD
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 85 reviews

Seroma treatment

Thank you for asking about your tummy tuck seroma (fluid collection).

  1. Irritation from the hematoma may have caused the seroma.
  2. Or a long period of sitting after a tummy tuck.
  3. I drain tummy tuck seromas 2-3 x a week until the fluid stops forming.
  4. It may take 6 weeks. Don't worry - these things happen. Best wishes. 

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

Abdominal seroma treatment


I am sorry you are having trouble with a seroma. I do not think you will cause any long term problem with the result of your surgery. That said, the delay may make treating the seroma a bit more difficult. I find that if I can drain the seroma quickly, it resolves faster.  You will have a resolution of the seroma, and hopefully it will not take too long. 

Gordon Lewis, MD
Midlothian Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Seroma treatment

Please followup with your PS as scheduled.  I wouldn't worry.  It may require a few treatments to get your seroma under control.  Wishing you a speedy recovery.

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 212 reviews

Seroma Drainage

It is better to drain your seroma sooner rather than later, but one to two weeks probably will not impact your final outcome as long as the seroma resolves completely.

David Stoker, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Seroma drainage

Usually once we discover seroma, we would like to aspirate the fluid relatively soon afterward.  As seroma stays in the body for a period of time, our body will form capsule (bursa) around the fluid; this can lead to a chronic problem.  Now that you are back in town, follow up with your plastic surgeon closely.  He/she will treat you as warranted.. 

I double that a hematoma caused your seroma.

Sugene Kim, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Post abdominoplasty seromas should be drained early and often.

A seroma should be aspirated as soon as it is diagnosed. Frequent aspirations will shorten the duration of the problem.

Vincent N. Zubowicz, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 36 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.