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.

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
4.0 out of 5 stars 9 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
Richmond Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 18 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
4.5 out of 5 stars 82 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
4.0 out of 5 stars 17 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 38 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. 

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

Seroma and Tummy Tuck

Dear 57,
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.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Pablo Prichard, MD
Phoenix Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 38 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.