Seroma or Normal Swelling After Breast Augmentation?

How can you tell the difference between a seroma and normal swelling? I have an area of puffiness over my right breast, and the area is numb. But it is squishy, not hard like typical swelling.

It has been two weeks since my Breast augmentation surgery. Also, my right implant still sits higher than my left.

Doctor Answers 11

Seroma or swelling

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It can be difficult to differentiate between the two.  Early on there is likely a little of both and as you heal both should improve.  Swelling that starts later on in the recovery, months after surgery, is much more likely to be seroma as opposed to swelling.

All the best,

Dr Repta

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 173 reviews

Seroma is uncommon

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Of all the augmentations I've done I've never seen a seroma. I guess it is possible if the aug was done subglandular but I doubt it. See your surgeon for a real evaluation.

In term of the implants falling. I have all of my augmentation patients wear a bra that has a strap that goes over the breasts forcing them to fall. I have patient wear this bra for 3 weeks after the surgery. I have never had implants not settle with this bra. Without it they can continue to ride high. Ask your surgeon for one or buy one off the internet.

See your surgeon

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Seroma is a condition involving the collection of clear tissue fluid around the implant that may need to be drained, although it could be absorbed by your body. Either way, you should see your surgeon just in case.

Clinically difficult

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It may be difficult to tell by physical exam alone.  If there is a concern, an ultrasound may be helpful.  The question would become, what to do with it?  The numbness is more likely due to surgery.


See you plastic surgeon for an evaluation

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If your swelling is asymmetric or more on one side than the other, you should make an appointment with your plastic surgeon. It is not uncommon for one implant to settle at a different rate than the other and usually time and or massage will help this. An ultrasound would be a helpful study if your plastic surgeon is concerned about a seroma forming.Take care.

Dr Edwards

You'll need an exam to distinguish seroma from swelling

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Without examination, at this stage it is not easy to say. Your surgeon might be willing to order ultrasound, but hopefully after exam, with or without ultrasound, that could be differentiated.

M. Ryan Khosravi, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon

Implants and swelling vs seroma?

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 At 2 weeks, it may difficult to tell. Is the squishy sensation the saline implant?  If it is  gel implant than it is a different story.  It is best to be evaluated by your surgeon. He may wan to get an ultrasound to be sure.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Swelling Following Breast Augmentation

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It's unusual to encounter a seroma following breast augmentation surgery. Furthermore, it's difficult to differentiate routine swelling from seroma formation with a physical examination. For this reason, ultrasound studies are probably necessary to confirm the presence of a seroma following breast augmentation. Fortunately, this is an unusual complication.

Patients undergoing breast augmentation can anticipate significant swelling in the immediate post-operative period. This swelling resolves quickly with the vast majority being gone in about three weeks. Almost all of the visible swelling is gone in 4 to 6 weeks, but small amounts of residual swelling may be present for up to 3 to 6 months following surgery.

Compression bras and dressings are frequently used following breast augmentation to minimize swelling. Swelling can add to a patient's post-operative discomfort. It can also increase anxiety regarding breast size immediately after surgery.

For these reasons, we feel it's important for the patient and the surgeon to have good communication regarding this topic immediately following surgery. In this situation, a little reassurance can go a long way towards making this a more comfortable experience. 

Swelling or seroma?

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Usually, any sudden changes in your breast shape are usually indication of something not quite right. If the puffiness occurred recently, then it may be a seroma. You should see your surgeon if you're worried because it should be examined in person. 

It takes about 4 months for the breasts to look more natural.

Ronald Levine, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Seroma or Swelling after breast implant augmentation

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Your plastic surgeon is the best person to distinguich a seroma from swelling in the early post-operative period.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.