I will be 3 weeks post op in 2 days ....can you tell between seroma and swelling by just looking at my lower abdomen? (photo)

M bell i a litTle bulgier on one side.. it's not squishy or waterbed feeling like some people describe their seromas.... but can that lower abdomen really just be swelling above the incion like that ? can it be a seroma and still not have that waterbed efect? I have tapped n it to see if i get a wav...but i just can't tell.

Doctor Answers 9


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It is impossible to tell from your photographs whether you have a seroma or not. I recommend following up with your plastic surgeon as this is obviously concerning to you.

Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

Can you tell between seroma and swelling by just looking at my lower abdomen?

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An actual exam is necessary to exclude the possibility of seroma. The photo is not particularly suspicious!

Call your surgeon. All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

I will be 3 weeks post op in 2 days ....can you tell between seroma and swelling by just looking at my lower abdomen?

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NO WAY without IN PERSON examination to tell you if you have swelling or seroma!!! Best to be examined IN PERSON 

Seroma or swelling after tummy tuck

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If no water bed fluid wave after pushing and release then likely just swelling. A gentle binder may help push out fluid. Your doctor can always aspirate to make sure no fluid which takes only a minute to do. Good Luck!

Postop Seroma

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It is very hard to tell from your photos, but as the other doctors mentioned, it is easy to tell with palpation.  You need two hands to feel it.  With both on the lower abdomen, tap your skin with one of them.  You should feel a the other hand be pushed up as fluid accumulates under it. 

Seroma Diagnosis

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The best way to diagnose a seroma is to tap the area of swelling with your finger. If you see a "fluid wave" then it is likely that you have one. This can be tricky to see in larger patients, but it should be more obvious in a thinner patient like yourself.  Swelling is normal at this stage of your recovery. Consult with your surgeon for further definitive advice. Best wishes.

Seroma after Abdominoplasty

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Thank you for the question. Based on your photos, it is difficult to determine if you have a seroma. Some small seromas may be difficult to detect. I would be best to follow up with your plastic surgeon. Good Luck.

Seroma vs. swelling 3 weeks after tummy tuck

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As you have described, tapping a seroma with your fingers tends to produce a fluid wave. Most seromas also tend to collect at the lower midline of the abdomen due to gravity. It's impossible to determine if you have a seroma based on your photos. If you are concerned with your abdomen, I highly recommend having your plastic surgeon examine you.  Best to drain seromas sooner than later if one is present. Thank you for sharing your concerns. Best wishes.

Seromas and Tummy Tucks

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Seromas can be differentiated from swelling by patting the abdomen gently to see if there is a water bed effect.  Little seromas are undetectable and will go away quickly.  Big seromas can be drained and usually after one or two draining procedures with a small needle they go away. Rarely a seroma may persist and need surgical treatment.  My Best,  Dr C.

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.