I Had the Drain Tubes in for 20 Days. The Volume Was Down to 25cc in Each. The Drains Came Out, Seroma Developed?

seroma. How long will it last? I am getting drained in the office every couple of days, with the numbers dropping Once it is gone, if it is ever gone, will I ever be able to workout without the seroma coming back? Is it a permanent condition? I am an athlete and like to run and perform insanity workouts. Will I ever get back to that point? I am 3 1/2 weeks post op. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 8

Drainage will taper and stop, permanently!

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Though your scenario is uncommon, it is nonetheless something that all plastic surgeons who performs lots of tummy tucks will see from time to time. As the cavity (where the fluid is drained) continues to heal down around the periphery, the cavity becomes smaller until it is completely obliterated. Once this occurs, any amount of activity will not cause it to recur since there is no more cavity.

Your surgeon is managing this appropriately.

Ignoring (and hoping for reabsorption on its own without aspiration) sometimes works, but can also lead to development of a pseudobursa that requires another operation to eliminate! Better to drain intermittently as you have been doing. If the amounts persist or worsen, drain replacement and sclerodesis of the cavity with tetracycline may prevent pseudobursa formation and get you healed!

Continue to see your surgeon, who is doing the right things for you. Yes, you will return to insanity workouts and running. But please realize that complete healing and scar softening takes up to a year to occur! Be patient with yourself! Best wishes! Dr. Tholen

Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 263 reviews

Questions about a seroma following an abdominoplasty

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Your plastic surgeon is in the best position to help decide what the problem is and how to correct it.  If the fluid keeps collecting then a drainage tube may have to be re-inserted.  If you are draining less then 25 cc each time then it is likely that this will resolve on its own.  Once it is totally gone it will not come back.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Repeated Aspiration of Seroma after Tummy Tuck

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   The body will usually heal these areas after a few aspirations.  I would predict that by 6 weeks you will be healed.  A few weeks after that you will likely resume exercises.

Seromas after a tummy tuck.

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A seroma after drain removal is not all that uncommon. Treatments include aspiration, compression garments, and sometimes surgery if the seroma is chronic. These typical resolve with serial aspirations. Long term, this should not impede the ability to be active and perform intense workouts.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews


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Sorry you are having this problem. Sounds like your surgeon is on top of this and taking care of you. This should heal

Norman Bakshandeh, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon

Seroma after abdominoplasty

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Sorry you are having such problems. Typically seromas will resolve with time and drainage. Occasionally they can become infected which may make it necessary to reinsert a drainage tube or open the incision. Keep in close contact with your surgeon.

John Squires, MD
Denver Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews


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I agree that 3 weeks of drainage is unusual but it sounds like your surgeon is taking care of it appropriately.  It will resolve in time.  In rare and let me repeat RARE cases a chronic seroma can develope.  Treating this with a sclerosing agent like tetracycline or betadine may help but is uncomfortable.  In the worst case scenario it may be necessary to surgically remove the seroma wall.  This is usually when all else fails.  Try to be patient as it seems your surgeon has your best interest at heart, and yes you will be able to resume full normal activity.  Dr. Schuster in Boca Raton, FL


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It is a bit unusual to still have drainage at three weeks, but unusual things do seem to occur with some regularity. 

Once it is gone, it is gone. You will be able to resume work-outs. Very occasionally these become "chronic" and a thick wall of scar develops, and these rarely require surgical excision. 

Most resolve with some combination of aspiration and/or replacement of a drain. Sometimes "sclerosis" helps--ask your surgeon. He/she would inject an agent (Betadine, tetracylcline, alcohol) to encourage the walls containing the fluid to stick to each other and obliterate the space.

Thanks for your question, best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

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.