Is It Normal to Swell and Have Pain Worsen After JP Drains Are Removed?

I had a tummy tuck without muscle repair 3 wks ago today. I had both JP drains removed yesterday. Average output was 55/30. My pain has become intolerable. I have increased swelling from bb down. It feels firm not squishy. I am also in a compression garment. Is pain and swelling that feels firm normal? Also before surgery I was taking furosemide as needed for swelling. If I resume this med, will it help? I have contacted Dr. and waiting for a response. Thanks and appreciate all responses.

Doctor Answers 5

Your concerns require a visit to your surgeon

and everything at this site is purely speculation.  Your surgeon knows what was done and what was coming out of your drains before they were pulled.  Your surgeon should examined you and determine if you have any concerning.  It could be fluid, it could be an infection... without seeing you, no one can tell.  See your surgeon for further management.

Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Seromas after Tummy Tuck

Thank you for your post. Seromas can be painful and cause a cosmetic deformity, as well as sometimes leak. The whole point of drains is to keep a seroma from happening in the first place. If a drainless procedure was performed, and you had a seroma, or you had drains that were pulled and you subsequently had a seroma, then you should be drained, otherwise a capsule builds around the fluid making it permanent. If a capsule builds around the seroma (pseudo bursa or encapsulated seroma) then the only way to remove the seroma is to surgically open the areas and excise the capsule, and close over drains to prevent another seroma from happening. If the seroma is encapsulated and is tight and painful, then it can be confused with just swelling or fat. An ultrasound is useful in distinguishing these and identifying the extent of the seroma. If the seroma is not yet encapsulated, then it is usually loose and has a 'fluid wave' or water bed type feel. Occasionally, a seroma can also become infected, especially if a permanent braided suture was used. This will have a hot, red appearance, and will eventually open up. I have never seen an infection from sterile aspiration of fluid. If seromas continue despite multiple aspirations over an extended period of time, then you need to start thinking about re-openning the incision and excising the entire capsule, both from and back walls, to treat the seroma. Drains need to be placed, internal sutures placed, possibly using a tissue glue or irritant to encourage the tissues to grow together.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 48 reviews

Possible seroma collection of fluid after drain removal

Swelling of the soft tissue can occur with or without drains.  If you noticed swelling immediately after removal of your drain I would suspect that you are developing a seroma.  You should be seen by your plastic surgeon for possible needle aspiration or to rule out a seroma.  

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

Your plastic surgeon should examine you.

It is not usual (or normal) to have significant swelling or pain after drain removal.  Since you have increased swelling and pain after the drain removal, you should see your plastic surgeon to make sure that you are not developing a fluid collection or infection.  

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


Your plastic surgeon is the one best situated to see if this is due to a seroma or other fluid collection, which it might be. Good luck!

Victor Au, MD (retired)
Chapel Hill Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 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.