After extended abdominoplasty one month ago. I still have persistent internal bleeding. Is this normal?

I had external drains for a week. Since then, I go to my surgeon every 3 days to aspirate via needles 50-120 cc's each time. Is this normal? I wear both a girdle and a corset that wraps around my middle to constrict bleeding. I am getting concerned, as a close friend recently died of a blood clot after flying days after minor surgery.

Doctor Answers 5

Seroma following tummy tuck

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What you are describing is a seroma (collection of straw or pink coloured fluid) and not internal bleeding. This is not uncommon and your doctor seems to be treating this appropriately. You will need this draining intermitantly until it settles down. Once it settles down and your abdominal wall swelling goes down too, you will be able to enjoy your good results. 

Persistent bleeding 1 month after tummy tuck

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Thank you for your question.

From your description I suspect you have developed a seroma which is quite common after tummy tuck.  It sounds like your surgeon is managing it appropriately with aspirations.  Occasionally resistant seromas will require more aggressive treatment such as a drain placement or injection of a medication to help the tissue stick together.  Rarely does a seroma require a reoperation.  I am sorry for your loss with your friend passing away from a blood clot but that is a different issue than you are experiencing.  The best defense at this point after surgery to prevent a deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism is to stay mobile and walk regularly.

Best Dr. L

Andre Levesque, MD
Austin Plastic Surgeon

Drainage or bleeding

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A seroma can occur after surgery which can require serial aspiration, but a hematoma(blood) requiring repeated aspiration is no good.  You might need further surgery.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Abdominoplasty drainage

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Thanks for your question.

It sounds like you have an early seroma forming.  Right now, your surgeon is doing the right thing by draining you often so the drainage does not have a chance to form a lining which can be permanent (seroma).  Did they culture the fluid?  If the drainage continues for some time, there may be a 'minor' infection inside which will not resolve until appropriate antibiotics are given.  Every surgeon has faced issues with fluid drainage and seroma formation...goes with doing abdominoplasty surgery.  Follow your surgeons advice and instructions.  Keep the abdominal binder on at all times to reduce the ability to collect fluid.

Best of luck

Dr. T

Douglas Taranow, DO, FACOS
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Persistent fluid collection after abdominoplasty

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thank you for your question , likely what you have is not persistent internal bleeding, it is a 'seroma' formation, this is a straw colored fluid that sometimes forms between layers of the abdominal wall after surgery ( even one drop of blood in this can make it look quite bloody) . Drains are put in after surgery to decrease the chance of this happening, but some cases it does still happen. Eventually, the rate of fluid formation will go down or your surgeon may decide that yo may require another surgery. 

 As you know, any surgery does carry a risk of blood clot formation in the legs, but getting a seroma is not likely to  increase the chance of having a blood clot problem

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