Hoe Can I Tell if Swelling is Seroma or Hematoma Post TT?

I am post TT and am wearing a binder 24/7. Today I noticed an area of swelling around my incision that is slightly painful. The pain is what caused me to peak at the area. It looks normal. How will I know if it is a seroma or a hematoma?

Doctor Answers 9

Swelling around incision after a tummy tuck

There are many causes of swelling, both normal and problematic. You did not describe the size, nature, etc. of the swelling that you have or how long postoperatively that you are. My recommendation as you are concerned would be to contact your plastic surgeon for possible evaluation.

Scottsdale Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Pain following Tummy Tuck

Although you didn't mention how far into recovery you are, I would always recommend that you contact your surgeon for a followup visit to see what is causing the pain. Some pains are normal. However, a seroma or hematoma may need care from your physician, with possible aspiration of fluids with a needle. As physicians, we would rather see you early on so if there is a problem we can treat it quickly. Don't worry if it turns out a false alarm.

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Hematoma vs seroma

it may be neither.  perhaps it is a stitch reaction or some swelling in the tissues,  see your surgeon but dont worry

Jonathan Saunders, MD
Newark Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 64 reviews

Complication after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question.

You need to be evaluated by your surgeon who will aspirate the area necessary and determine if you're dealing with a seroma, hematoma, or swelling in the subcutaneous tissues.

Best wishes.


Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Hoe Can I Tell if Swelling is Seroma or Hematoma Post TT?

As you can read the majority of the previous expert posters ou need to see your operative surgeon ASAP. I agree follow up care is as important as wearing the binder. 

Darryl J. Blinski, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 174 reviews

Please see your surgeon

You may have normal swelling ,but you need to see your surgeon for follow up and further evaluation. The surgical care starts with consultation and and continues till patients fully recovered and in some cases like augmentation never ends.

Kamran Khoobehi, MD
New Orleans Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Hematoma vs Seroma

Based on the limited information given, you may have normal swelling but to determine this, you should notify your plastic surgeon. Your surgeon can use a needle to determine what type of fluid is present. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 68 reviews

Hematoma or seroma after tummy tuck? How to tell.

Hi, Molly. You didn't say how long after surgery your are, nor did you include photos, so it's hard to be more than very general in my answer.

First of all, high five to you for following your surgeon's advice to wear your binder full time! Of course it's OK to peek at a sore spot, do drain care, of simply adjust the binder so the pressure is equalized and there are no "rolls" collecting fluid. I don't know if you had drains used (most surgeons do), and if so, if they are still in or out.

The key to providing some insight into your specific situation is in your description that an area of your incision looks normal, but swollen. Some swelling is normal, but an increase in swelling (where little or none was noted before) could be a sign of a hematoma or seroma. Perhaps even an early infection!

Bottom line here: by your description, nobody can tell for sure if this is nothing at all but normal healing and nerve regeneration causing some discomfort . . . or, if this is a collection of blood or serum or other problem.

If you are concerned enough to check a sore area, and then go online and ask a question, I would call your surgeon and arrange a follow-up visit soon. As one of my plastic surgery professors always used to say when asked questions like this--"Nothing beats knowing!" Go in, have this checked, and worry no more! Best wishes!

Richard H. Tholen, MD, FACS
Minneapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 255 reviews

Sonogram will diagnose seroma or hematoma after tummy tuck.


You need to call and see your plastic surgeon right away.  You might be fine, or you might have a complication that needs to be drained promptly.

George J. Beraka, MD (retired)
Manhattan Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 9 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.