Uneven Swelling with Some Pain 11 Days After Lipo, Could I Get an Infection From the Trapped Fluid?

I had tumescent lipo done on my upper and lower abdomen. The right side of my abdomen at waist level is considerably more swollen and pretty tender. No fever or redness. Though I can tell there is some fluid under there. Will this resolve on its own? Its been more sore and swollen since day one. Is it possible to get an infection if there is trapped fluid in there?

Doctor Answers 6

"Trapped fluid" after lipo with tenderness

At 11 days after liposuction, the feeling of having "trapped fluid" with tenderness is probably a condition called a seroma and not the tumescent fluid. Seromas are collections of fluid that represent the straw-colored liquid portion of blood without the red blood cells present. Left alone the body may resolve a small seroma, but it's best to have an accurate diagnosis and allow your surgeon to assist in getting this to resolve faster. 

Diagnosis and treatment for a seroma includes: 

  • withdrawing the fluid to confirm what it is
  • sending fluid for a culture (rarely is there an infection, but be sure)
  • keeping the area compressed to prevent re-accumulation of fluid
  • may need repeated withdrawals before the body stops collecting it in that spot
  • a large seroma may resolve faster with a drain for a short time

Seromas are generally more of a nuisance that a serious problem.

San Antonio Dermatologic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Swelling after liposuction

Uneven swelling and tenderness is quite common after liposuction, however if this has appeared rather suddenly then you should probably see your surgeon. It could be a seroma. Please follow your surgeon's post-surgery care instructions to facilitate your recovery. 

Jerome Edelstein, MD
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 176 reviews

Tumescent Lipo

Swelling after lipo is common for 2-3 weeks after surgery, longer if more was removed. If you have infection questions, see the surgeon and they will evaluate you. Thank you for your question and good luck.

Vivek Bansal, MD
Danville Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Fluid collection after liposuction

It is very important to see your surgeon right away so he or she can evaluate you.  Have you been wearing compression since surgery?  If this is a fluid collection (seroma) It may need to be drained intermittently with a needle or a drain may need to be placed.  It is possible for this fluid to become infected.  Please contact your doctor.

Marialyn Sardo, MD
La Jolla Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Seroma and infection

It is very possible to get an infection if you have a seroma.  It is alos commone to have differential swelling. The only way to be sure about a seroma is if you go for an exam with your doctor. Good luck.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 28 reviews


Seroma could occur after liposuction. Small amounts can resorb. Large volume need to be aspirated, cultured. If persistant then must be drained. See you Plastic surgeon ASAP. It can get infected.

Samir Shureih, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 7 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.