5 Weeks Post Op Tummy Tuck Seroma is Getting Hard?

I developed a seroma on the upper part of my abdomen about 3 weeks ago and it no longer has the water wave effect when I tap it, its starting to feel pretty firm. Please help me understand whats going on, is this normal when it absorbs? I have a personal ultrasonic massager is this good for scar tissue? Thanks

Doctor Answers 3

Tummy tuck

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In order to give an adequate response you need to be examined. Having a seroma after surgery specially a tummy tuck is somewhat normal. It does need to be aspirated out with a needle. Our body will absorb it with time. You need to talk to your surgeon, so he/she can advise you on what options you have to get rid of the hardness.



Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Seroms after Tummy Tuck

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Thank you for your post. Seromas can be painful and cause a cosmetic deformity, as well as sometimes leak. The whole point of drains is to keep a seroma from happening in the first place. If a drainless procedure was performed, and you had a seroma, or you had drains that were pulled and you subsequently had a seroma, then you should be drained, otherwise a capsule builds around the fluid making it permanent. If a capsule builds around the seroma (pseudo bursa or encapsulated seroma) then the only way to remove the seroma is to surgically open the areas and excise the capsule, and close over drains to prevent another seroma from happening. If the seroma is encapsulated and is tight and painful, then it can be confused with just swelling or fat. An ultrasound is useful in distinguishing these and identifying the extent of the seroma. If the seroma is not yet encapsulated, then it is usually loose and has a 'fluid wave' or water bed type feel. Occasionally, a seroma can also become infected, especially if a permanent braided suture was used. This will have a hot, red appearance, and will eventually open up. I have never seen an infection from sterile aspiration of fluid.
Best wishes,
Pablo Prichard, MD

Treatment of seroma after tummy tuck.

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Thank you for your recent question.  It is not uncommon to have a seroma form after a tummy tuck, or any surgery, for that matter.  The usual treatment is to remove the fluid with an indwelling drain to be kept in place until the amount of drainage is less than 25cc. per day through the drain.  Once the amount of drainage  has diminished to this amount, the drain can safely be removed.  Any further accumulated fluid will need to be aspirated with a needle through the skin.  With decreasing volumes of aspirated fluid no intervention will need to be performed, and the small amount of remaining fluid will easily be absorbed by the body.


Good luck to you.


Frank Rieger M.D.  Tampa Plastic Surgeon

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.