Still Draining Blood 5 Weeks After my Tummy Tuck, is This Normal?

I had a tummy tuck 5 weeks ago. I had my drains removed just a week and a half post op. A week after that my abdomen had swollen up like a balloon. I looked like I was 4 months pregnant and on my 5'4" 125lb frame that's a lot of swelling. My surgeon tried to drain the fluid but nothing came out. I hobbled around for almost another week like that until my next follow up appointment. At that appointment they pulled 7 vials of dark red blood off of my abdomen. Every week since its been the same.

Doctor Answers 4

Still Draining 5 weeks after Tummy Tuck, Is this Normal?

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To be persistently draining 5 weeks after a tummy tuck is not the norm.  It sounds as though you developed a hematoma following your surgery.  This occurs overall in about 1% of all tummy tucks. 

When a hematoma occurs a after a tummy tuck I recommend going back to surgery as soon as possible to evacuate the hematoma, placing drains for a few days to establish healing.  If this is not done, a scar tissue capsule will form around the hematoma or persistent fluid collection.  This prevents healing and will necessitate a more extensive surgical procedure to remove not only the hematoma but the scar tissue capsule and placing drains.


Work with your surgeon to resolve your hematoma and you should do well.


Fluid collection persistent after tummy tuck

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This is likely a seroma that formed, but it may have been a hematoma that is now liquified. Sometimes the seroma can become chronic and form a lining that does require surgery to remove. I do not recommend and "sclerosing" agent for this. If it is chronic and not going away it typically needs surgery to remove. I would consult with your plastic surgeon on this. Also post operative compression garments are effective as well if you are not wearing any to help "shrink" the space any fluid may be collecting.

Tummy tuck and bloody drainage

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Thanks for your question.  It sounds like you had a hematoma (blood pocket) that it liquifing. In answer to your question honestly, this is not normal, but it does happen.  Please discuss with your surgeon his/her endpoint on trying aspiration with a needle vs placing a drain.

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Fluid after a tummy tuck

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It sound like you likely has an accumulation of fluid/blood under the skin called a seroma. Most seromas do eventually heal and "dry up" with serial aspirations (removal of fluid with a syringe and needle). However, if a seroma persists then sometimes it is best to go back to surgery and remove the seroma cavity lining and replace a drain.  Discuss your concerns with your PS.

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.