Abdominoplasty and Seroma?

I had Abdominoplasty 4 weeks ago and for 14 days had about 100 cc's per day in my drainage tube. It reduced to 50 cc's per day during the 3rd week. On day 24 I had a stabbing pain and some stiches had opened. I saw my Dr. immediately. He concluded that the drainage tube may have moved and removed it. That was 5 days ago and today is the first time I can go in to have the fluid removed. My stomach has a huge bulge and I am very concerned. Any opinions on much longer this will go on? Hana

Doctor Answers 6

Seroma after tummy tuck

Seromas may occur after tummy tuck.  Once it is aspirated and possibly the drain replaced, it will go on to resolve.  Sometimes, more than one aspiration procedure is necessary.  It is impossible to predict how long it will take for this to resolve but, rest assured that it will ultimately go on to heal.

New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Seroma following an abdominoplasty

If you have a  bulge at 5 weeks after your surgery it is either, a seroma, a hematoma, residual fat or muscle bulge.  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.  

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 19 reviews

Abdominoplasty With Post Op Swelling = Seroma

The swelling you are experiencing in your abdomen at about 4 weeks after an abdominoplasty means you have a seroma, a collection of fluid so great that it overwhelms the lymphatic vessels present on your rectus muscles.  This collection of fluid accumulates and forms a bulge.  If this fluid reaccumulates more than once, then in my practice, I use a small indwelling catherer known as a Seromacath which is then hooked to a standard JP bulb.  This catherer system keeps the fluid level down to allow your lymphaatics to drain away fluid and allow the seroma pocket to scar shut. 

Each plastic surgeon has his or her own technique and I am sure your plastic surgeon will cure the problem ultimately.  Sorry you are going through this, but unfortunately, this is a known complication.

Tummy tuck seroma after four weeks, will it stop?

Seroma is not common after tummy tuck, and can depend on technique or other circumstances. Once developed, a seroma should be aspirated, and sometimes if the aspirations become frequent the drain replaced. Over time, all seromas will indeed resolve, though just how long is a guess. Stick with your surgeon and he will see you through.

Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews


A seroma is a collection of swelling fluid and is relatively common after an abdominoplasty.  Usually the fluid will decrease over the first few weeks so that the drains can be removed and no fluid reaccumulates.  If the fluid does build up again after the drains are removed, as it may have in your case, then frequent aspirations (removal with a needle) is usually successful.  Only in rare instances is re-operation or referral to a radiologist necessary.  I know its frustrating but it is not possible to predict how long it will take to resolve this issue.  Work with your plastic surgeon and hopefully you will still end up with a nice result.

Richard Kofkoff, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

Abdominoplasty and Seroma


From the sound of your description you have a seroma. Your surgeon will likely need to aspirate this or place another drain. He or she might consider sclerosing the cavity by adding betadine, tetracycline or alcohol which can encourage the tissues to seal and stop draining.If your surgeon is not familiar with the technique, you might be referred to an interventional radiologist. 

You are already outside the norm for time of drainage, any guess of future duration will be a guess.

Thanks for the question, best wishes for a more uneventful recovery.


Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.