Is it Normal to have to Drain Fluid from Above Belly Button 2.5 Weeks Post-Op Tummy Tuck and Lipo?

I had a tummy tuck and lipo done 17 days ago i went to my 2 week check up and i told my ps that i had alot of pain and pressure above my belly button he went in with a needle and took out fluid he told me that is normal and he may have to do the same next week i read on here most people get fluid built up below the belly button or under the scar is it really normal that my build up is above my belly button and what can i do to help minimize this

Doctor Answers 4

Draining after Procedure

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The reason your doctor used a needle to remove the fluid is because you have developed a seroma. This can happen after having the tummy tuck procedure. Your surgeon was correct about probably needing to remove more fluid the following week. Your surgeon will continue to do this until you no longer have the fluid build up in the area above your belly button.  If the fluid build up continues past 4-6 weeks and is draining a significant amount your surgeon might recommend using a drain again. Make sure you are keeping your surgeon informed on your progress and or of any problems you may be having. Best of luck to you.  To learn more, please visit our page on potential complications of a tummy tuck procedure.

Seroma after Tummy Tuck

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Typically seromas (fluid accumulation) occur in the lower abdomen, but occasionally they can occur in the upper abdomen as well. (this has happened to one of my patients as well). It is not dangerous, but it can be annoying. Needle aspiration should resolve the problem, though it may be necessary to have a small drainage catheter placed for several days to completely resolve it.


Daniel Medalie, MD

Seroma following TT

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Seromas (fluid collections) are not uncommon after a TT and although they usually occur in the lower abdomen they can occasionally be seen in the upper half.  There is no significance to the location.  Avoid strenuous activity especially anything that twists your body as this can cause shearing of the tissues that were elevated over the muscle below it.  You want the two to stick together ASAP.  The fluid will prevent this which is why your surgeon is removing it.  Wear a compression garment.  If the seroma persists your surgeon may want to try something else like steroids, diuretics or putting a drain back in.  It is unusual to have to resort to anything more than serial aspirations so don't panic.  Just keep going in getting the fluid drained off.  A few times is usually all that is needed.

Lori H. Saltz, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
4.3 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Seroma after tummy tuck

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Thank you for the question.

Based on your description you developed a seroma  which is not uncommonly seen after tummy tuck surgery. Your surgeon's treatment of this seroma with aspiration  is indicated and as you have heard may be necessary a few more times if the fluid reaccumulates.

I would suggest avoidance of strenuous activity  and possible use of a pressure dressing above the umbilicus. Keep close follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

Best wishes.

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.