Could This Be a Seroma? (photo)

I am 13 days post op from a mommy makeover. My drains were removed post op day 9. I am still very swollen, which is to be expected, but I do not notice any fluid like wave under my skin. The lump isn’t painful, and it gets more swollen throughout the day. I have touched it to make sure there is no fluid like wave or if it will adjust, but it does not. I have already sent this question to my doctor, but he is on vacation for a few days. Until then, I am left wondering what it could be.

Doctor Answers 12

Mommy makeover - seroma?

A good way to assess that would be to start with an ultrasound.  it looks like fluid that would be easily treated with needle aspiration.  I recommend waiting until your surgeon returns but notifing the office of the situation. 

Chicago Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

Could This Be A Seroma In My Upper Abdomen?

Thank you very much for your question and your pictures.  Based on the information you provided and your pictures, my assumption is that you are correct.  This certainly looks like a seroma.  Your team of consultants from Real Self pretty much agree that your doctor probably has another plastic surgeon on call while he or she is out of town.  I recommend you make an appointment asap to see this plastic surgeon and deflate this seroma before it becomes chronic. 


It certainly appears to be a seroma. Probably not a blood collection (hematoma) because there is no bruising. If this appeared after your drains were removed then would be consistent with seroma. An ultrasound is an excellent way to determine it's nature, but expensive. Needle aspiration works very well, but you should wait on your surgeon for that one. Another rare possibility is that the suture line for the muscle repair may have torn, but I am betting on the seroma. Good luck.

Paul Watterson, MD
Charlotte Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Seromas Following Surgery

         It’s not unusual for patients to develop seromas when drains are removed prematurely. Your picture suggests fullness in your upper abdomen which is characterized by a rounding which suggests a fluid collection. If this fluid is under tension it would not be expected to have a fluid wave.


         Confirmation of this diagnosis can be made with an ultrasound or a diagnostic aspiration. Seromas should be drained to avoid long term complications. In most cases, compression garments should be used to avoid recurrence. It’s important that you contact your surgeon as soon as possible to avoid secondary complications. 

Richard J. Bruneteau, MD
Omaha Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 194 reviews

Seromas after tummy tuck

Yes it looks like a seroma. it is not an emergency but return to your surgeon when he gets back to town. He will be able to aspirate it with a needle. Not to worry.

Ronald Schuster, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 77 reviews

Mommy Makeovers Require Close Follow-up With Your Plastic Surgeon For Best Results

Swelling can be very normal 13 days following a tummy-tuck, especially if accompanied by liposuction. Compression is helpful. Close follow-up with physical examination with your Plastic Surgeon is essential to make sure that it is nothing more serious such as a seroma or hematoma. If you doctor is out of town, ask to be seen by the nurseing staff or the doctor on call. Best of luck.

Dr. Lyos

Houston, Texas

Andrew T. Lyos, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 58 reviews

Postop seroma after tummy tuck

I would agree this is most likely a seroma based on what you describe and in reviewing your photos.  I would follow up with your plastic surgeon for aspiration.  It also may help to wear a compression garment or abdominal binder if your plastic surgeon has had you wearing this after surgery.

James F. Boynton, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Difficult to diagnose seroma without an examination

A seroma can be often difficult to diagnose if the classic sign of fluid wave under the skin is not seen.  Sometimes, a diagnostic tap is done with a needle to check for fluid.  Be examined by your plastic surgeon or a surgeon who is covering for him or her as soon as you can.  Earlier the diagnosis and treatment, the better in most cases.

Richard H. Lee, MD
Newport Beach Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 28 reviews

Seroma after Tummy Tuck?

Thank you for the question and pictures.

Based on your history and pictures,  you very well may be dealing with a seroma.  It is probable that your plastic surgeon has a  colleague covering his practice;  I would suggest that you call him/her for direct examination and possible aspiration.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,485 reviews


Based upon the photo and the history, seroma would be my best bet. If your surgeon has a cross covering physician you might be able to get this aspirated (if I am correct).

Thanks for the question and the attached photos. Best wishes

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.