No drain Tummy tuck problems. Any suggestions? (photos)

I had a min. invasive TT for skin removal after weight loss. I worked out with a trainer 1 1/2 yrs 3 x week-cardio 6 xweek prior TT. i was very slim /except -small tummy flap. 1 week still had major swelling & at 2 weeks i had a large bruise on one side and was blue acrossmid section. 2 weeks-removing fluid at a rate of 120 cc, 60 cc, 120 cc, 80 cc, 120 cc every day. I had developed a hematoma after surgery-later a seroma. Now he thinks a drain should be installed since i have to be away 4 days?

Doctor Answers 9

No drain Tummy tuck problems. Any suggestions?

A seroma or hematoma can happen with our without drains being used. 

If you are needed repeat seroma drainage, then a drain seems reasonable. 

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 70 reviews

Tummy tuck fluid

It sounds as though the drain is a good option.  They usually stay in for several weeks until the output is less than 30ml a day for 2 days in a row.

Seroma after no drain tummy tuck

The short answer is that your alternatives are to have it drained on a daily basis or have a drain put in. The no drain tummy tuck is based on the idea of using progressive tension sutures to close off the space where fluid accumulates, and I have been using this technique for almost 20 years. What I have learned is that although the amount of fluid output is greatly diminished on average, there is still some potential for fluid accumulation so I continue to use drains. Usually they can be removed within a couple of days but in the occasional patient with higher output we have the option of leaving it in longer.

Richard Baxter, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

No drain Tummy tuck problems. Any suggestions?

YES! a drainage system can be re inserted via Radiology fluro insertion or under local open area of TT. 

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

Seroma after tummy tuck

Seromas after tummy tucks, whether drained or not ,can happen. With the amount of drainage you are having on a daily basis, it makes sense to me to put a seroma catheter or new drain in, rather than having to serially drain it on a daily basis. Once the drainage goes down to less than 15 mL or so per day in my opinion it's then safe to remove the drain.  Good luck. 

Marc J. Salzman, MD, FACS
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 55 reviews

Seroma After No Drain Tummy Tuck

While no drain tummy tucks have a similar incidence of seroma to tummy tucks with drains, they do still occur. A drain is advisable at this point since your drainage amount seems to be constant and not trending downward. Make sure that you empty the drain frequently and limit your activity to diminish the amount of fluid production. Drains often work, but sometimes other treatments are needed if the seroma persists.

Don W. Griffin, MD
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 73 reviews

To drain or not after tummy tuck hematoma

A drain will simplify your life during your travels. It may even speed up the resolution to your seroma. 

Either office taps or a drain will eventually solve the problem. I would not be too worried. 

R. Louis Adams, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

No drain Tummy tuck problems. Any suggestions?

Thank you for your question and series of photographs.  I am sorry that you are dealing with these seroma issues.  As with any tummy tuck surgery, no drain tummy tucks can result in the development of seromas that would require office aspiration and treatment to avoid a permanent pseudo capsule or scar tissue from forming.  Though it sounds as you have been receiving appropriate treatment, the placement of a drain may be of benefit to prevent daily fluid removal through a needle and syringe.  Hope this helps.

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 69 reviews


It sounds like you have a seroma after an abdominoplasty.  This is a common complication and is not serious if properly managed.  Your incision is still healing and if you get a large fluid collection it could burst your incision.  Given the amount of fluid you are describing and the early postoperative timing, I agree with your doctor's recommendation that a drain is probably your best option, especially if you are going to be unable to do frequent aspirations.  Stay with your doctor and follow their advice.

Jeffrey D. Wagner, MD
Indianapolis Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 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.