Why 3+months after explant do the pockets keep filling with fluid?

Over 3 months ago i had my small over the muscle silicone implants removed.. was fine a couple weeks then they blew up larger than when i had implants and were hard and painful.. i now have to go every week or 2 and get drained. I wear a tight compression bra or bandage almost constantly to keep it from re-swelling.. my dr has never dealt with this and i don't want to be damaging anything if this is something i will need surgery again for.. help!? Any advice or just more time and detoxing?! Thanks

Doctor Answers 8


unfortunately, the capsule formed around your implant is acting like a cyst sac as it is fully mature. The ideal would be to go back to surgery and have at least a partial capsulectomy. If you are adamant against going back to surgery, you can have a drain placed in each pocket and left there for several weeks. Neither option is great, I know, but because the capsule has matured, it will continue to fill with fluid until something is done to "roughen up" the slick surfaces and get them to stick down to each other. 

Pasadena Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Recommend complete capsule removal

The options are drain placement to remove the fluid and surgical exploration to remove all of the capsule and closure of the pocket with Quail suture. 

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 122 reviews

Large seroma after implants removed

Thank you for asking about your breast implant removal.

  • I am so sorry you are going through this. These are the usual causes and treatment -
  • Causes - low grade infection, fluid production by the capsular lining, non-infected fluid from surgery (seroma)
  • Treatment - serial aspiration (your current treatment), placement of a drain until fluid stops forming - usually with irrigation of antibiotics into the surgical pocket - and surgery to remove the capsule and close the pocket.
  • Since this happened to you on both sides, chances are the capsule is causing the fluid to form.
  • Please discuss with your surgeon if and when you may need surgery to treat this.

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes  - Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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

Pockets fill with fluid

Hello and thank you for your question. Its unfortunate you are having this issue but it is something that can occur whenever there is a space in the body. It sounds like you are having an issue with recurrent seromas in the pocket where your implants were. As many of my colleagues have discussed below, there are really 3 main options. The first is already being done which is the serial aspirations. If after 3 months the seromas are still forming then another step may need to be taken. Drains can be placed as a next step and kept in until the drainage starts to decrease to a satisfactory amount. Lastly, this may need a surgical solution which would involve removing the capsule (a wall the body produces around the implant). I hope you are able to get this resolved and wish you the best of luck!

Ankur Mehta MD

Ankur Mehta, MD
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 17 reviews

Why 3+ months after explant do the pockets keep filling with fluid?

In some cases after removal of breast implants, the capsule from the old implant pockets will produce seroma fluid that may or may not respond to needle aspirations. Placement of a drain may help. But, the definitive treatment would be the removal of the capsule and placement of drains. Thank you for sharing your question and concerns. Best wishes. Dr. Gregory Park, San Diego Plastic Surgeon.

Gregory Park, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 164 reviews

Breast Implant removal +/- capsulectomy

Thank you for your question. A thickened capsule that is left behind after breast implants are removed can cause fluid to build up or a seroma that will continue to expand, leak and drain. Surgery to remove the capsule and leave a drain can help treat this excessive fluid/seroma build up.

Best wishes,

Benjamin J. Cousins MD Board Certified Plastic Surgeon

Benjamin J. Cousins, MD
Miami Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Breast Implant Removal , Explant

Fluid accumulation after breast implant removal (explant) frequently happen if the capsule is not removed. Treatment consist of aspiration , however if this continues, then surgery is needed to remove the capsule.

Drains needed after capsulectomy

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

#Explant #BreastImplantRemoval - pockets keep filling with fluid

One possibility is that the remained capsular tissue is producing fluid.  This can occur and, when it does, you would need to have all or most of the capsule removed during a(nother) surgical procedure.  Alternatively, you could try having a drain inserted and leaving it in place for a few weeks.  Serial aspirations may not be effective as leaving an indwelling drain for a few weeks and giving your tissues a chance to scar down and obliterate the space.  You should of course be assessed in person by a board-certified plastic surgeon and undergo treatment(s) based on that.  I hope that this helps and good luck.  Dr. Alan Engler, Member of #RealSelf500

Alan M. Engler, MD, FACS
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 125 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.