How long after a tummy tuck can a seroma form?

I am almost 3 weeks post op from a tummy tuck with muscle repair. I had one of my drains removed at 7 days post op, and the second drain removed at 14 days post op. At the point of my second drain removal I was draining 10-12cc per 24 hours for 3-4 days prior to drain removal, so, well below the required minimum output. My question is, how long after drains are removed can a seroma form? How long do I need to worry about one forming and be on the lookout for one in case it does form?

Doctor Answers 4

Post op Tummy Tuck

Healing after a tummy tuck is usually retty straight forward. There is a process of swelling and bruising that peaks at 3 days after surgery and then undergoes the first stage of major resolution in the first 2 weeks after surgery. The lateer phase of healing takes place over the 2-3 months after surgery where everything really settles and softens. It is after this time that we are getting close to the final result, though this varies patient to patient. If you have any questions you should speak to your plastic surgeon directly to get the best informed response.

Colombia Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Seroma after tummy tuck

Thank you for your question.  Typically if a seroma is going to form after a tummy tuck it will most likely form within 1-2 weeks after your last drain has been removed.  It will usually appear as a fluid wave under your skin.  Thankfully, this is a very rare complication.  If you do have concerns about this particular situation, you should follow up with your plastic surgeon.

James Shoukas, MD
Lake Mary Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

How long after a tummy tuck can a seroma form?

In my experience, if you are unfortunate enough to develop a seroma, you will notice it within a week of removing the last drain. It will appear as a fluid wave on your abdominal wall. So when you move or touch your abdomen, you will see the fluid move under your skin. Luckily, this is rare, especially after having a drain for two weeks. Good luck with your recovery.

Keith Hodge, MD
Leawood Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Seroma after tummy tuck

Seromas usually manifest themselves in the first month. From your history you sound like you do not currently have one and chances are quite small that you will develop one at this point. Should you notice a small fluid collection or localized swelling it can usually be taken care of in the office. The trick is to not let a possible seroma go unaddressed. Hope this helps.


Dr Crabtree

Thomas Crabtree, MD, FACS
Honolulu Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 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.