Seroma or Normal Swelling 15 Weeks After Tummy Tuck?

Im at 15 weeks after tummy tuck and liposuction and I seem to have a pouch in the lower part of my belly I saw my doctor 4 weeks ago, he used a siringe to get fluid out but nothing came, he told me it would go away on its own. Im I being to impatient or should I worry?

Doctor Answers 13

Swelling after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

It would probably be best for you to be seen by your plastic surgeon again to rule out abnormal fluid accumulation (seroma).

Generally speaking,  tummy tuck surgery involves the interruption of arterial inflow as well as venous/lymphatic outflow. As patients' activity level increases  the abdominal wall flap may have a hard time eliminating fluids from the area. It may take several months to a year for the situation to improve  whereby patients no longer have the increased swelling with increased activity.

I have seen some significant tissue swelling that may be alarming but has always resolved with time.

I hope this helps.

San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,487 reviews

Swelling after Tummy Tuck

At 15 weeks, you've pretty much got what you're going to get.  A swelling, especially after removing fluid a month before, is likely to be a seroma.  One way to tell is to press on one side of the swelling and look for a "water-bed" effect (or a "fluid wave") on the other side of the swelling.  Go see your doc and tell him your concerns.  He should be able to tell pretty quickly what's going on.

Robert K. Sigal, MD
Reston Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Tummy tuck

There can be persistent swelling or a Seroma. If an aspiration was tried then it is more likely swelling, particularly if that area had some liposuction performed. Be patient and wear your compression garment.

David L. Abramson, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Swelling or seroma? after tummy tuck

Sorry you are unhappy at this point.  You are 15 weeks out from your tummy tuck, so most of your swelling has gone.  It is possibel that a seroma is present, but a photograph is not a good way to assess for that.  I would give it a couple more months (at 6 months, he should not argue it is swelling), then if there is no improvement, speak with your surgeon about either assessing for seroma with an ultrasound or a revision of the surgery.  He should not charge you for a revision.

I hope it works out for you.  Good luck.

Gordon Lewis, MD
Midlothian Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Seroma or Normal Swelling 15 Weeks After Tummy Tuck?

Either is possible 15 weeks following a tummy tuck (or many similar operations that involve elevating tissues from there normal attachments, aka - dissecting between tissue planes).  The only way to tell for sure is by physical exam (preferably by the operating surgeon who knows exactly what he/she did in surgery) and occasionally ultrasound to verify a seroma.

Ryan Stanton, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 116 reviews

Healiing after Tummy Tuck

One attempted needle aspiration does not eliminate the possibility of a fluid collection (seroma) - perhaps it was missed.

You may wish to obtain the opinion of another plastic surgeon.


Stephan Baker, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Seroma or swelling 3 months after tummy tuck

A seroma this late seems unlikely,and your surgeon did attempt to aspirate and no fluid was found. It is not unusual for the lower abdomen to be rather stiff and numb, even up to nine months after. At 15 weeks, you can exercise and work on abdominal tone. Yoga can improve posture. A Spanx during the day can help apply pressure over the lower abdomen as you wait out the final phase of healing.

Best of luck,


Peter E. Johnson, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Seroma or Normal Swelling 15 Weeks After Tummy Tuck?

You may have a true concern. I believe it is either a fluids collection or a poorly preformed TT - no muscle repair. Best to obtain additional in person consults. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Seroma after tummy tuck

Its impossible to diagnose a seroma with a photograph - if you and your doc perceive a 'fluid wave' when palpating the lowest part of your abdomen, then you've got a seroma .  Its quite likely that you have soft tissue swelling (edema) which is not a fluid collection, simply soft tissue water that has collected in the most dependant portion of your torso and stays there because of the disrupted lymphatic channels - this edema always resolves with time. An abdominal ultrasound is a good way to diagnose a seroma that might require drainage.

Scott C. Sattler, MD, FACS
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Swelling or seroma after a tummy tuck

Dear Pheonix811,

From the current photo it is difficult to tell if you have swelling or seroma after your tummy tuck.  Both conditions could be present  after the procedure.  The most accurate way to differentiate between the two conditions, aside from a good physical exam, would be an ultrasound of the area. Please be aware though that the procedure may or may not be covered by your insurance company.

I would recommend following up with your surgeon.

K. Jacob Cohen-Kashi, New York Plastic Surgeon.

Kambiz Jacob Cohen-Kashi, MD
Long Island Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 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.