Seroma occurrence after body contouring for massive weight loss patients?

I was reading that although fairly common it is more likely for seromas to develop in pt's that have had massive weight loss prior to surgery. Is this due to size of skin being removed or nutrition deficits? Other than drains are there steps that a pt can take to help prevent them? Sorry for all the questions. I actually live in a rural state with only 4-5 plastic surgeons. I have a consult next month but want to have a good understanding. 5'2", 120#s lost. Wanting to get rid of excess skin.

Doctor Answers 4

Seroma occurrence after body contouring for massive weight loss patients?

Great question.  Seromas can occur anywhere a large flap of skin is lifted such as abdominoplasties and body lift operations regardless of amount of weight lost.  Because you are a massive weight loss patient you are more predisposed to seromas after surgery. As you move and slowly become more active after surgery, the skin flap has not had a chance to seal back down.  Your body sends fluid to the areas that were operated on with this friction/movement and revs up fluid production.  This fluid can build up and is usually easily removed in-office as needed.  I advise my patient to limit bending and twisting after surgery as this can help reduce seroma formation.  All abdominoplasties and body lifts involve drains which help, but do not prevent seroma formation. Seromas are considered to be part of the healing process rather than a complication.  Best of luck.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 25 reviews


Although it is one of the most common problems after surgery, it does not mean it will happen. Drains, compression, and patient compliance with postop restrictions are key to lessening this problem.

Michael Hueneke, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

Seromas after body contouring

Congratulations on your weight loss!  Seromas, which are collections of thin, yellowish tissue fluid that form beneath the areas that have been lifted up during a procedure, are somewhat more common in patients that have lost large amounts of weight.  They can usually be dealt with in a relatively straight-forward manner, if they occur at all.  Most plastic surgeons use drains and compression to prevent them.  Best wishes as you move forward in your journey!

Alyson Wells, MD, FACS
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Seromas after body contouring

Thank you for the question.  Seromas are not uncommon after body contouring procedures.  Although it is not known exactly how seromas occur, there is likely many factors including the amount of dissection, technique, use of compression and nutritional factors.  There are some techniques that your surgeon will employ during and after your surgery that will help decrease seroma rates including drains, compression and other things during surgery.  However, despite these techniques, the rate of seromas is not zero.  If you do develop seromas, your surgeon can drain it fairly easily.  I find, that in my practice, I ask patients to wear compression garments all the time for 6 weeks and then tight garments like spandex or Spanx for 6 weeks afterwards.  They only take the compression garments off for showers and social  engagements.  I find that, although it seems excessive, my seroma rates are quite low.  The compression devices also help shape the area of the body while it is healing and help with swelling as an added bonus.  

Geethan Chandran, MD
Saskatchewan 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.