I'm 3 wks post-op Medial & lateral thigh lift. Is there anything I can do to prevent the fluids collecting in my left thigh?

My Incisions healing nicely, but Dr had to take fluid out with needle twice already. After being drained, the next day, it is hard & full again. Besides wearing compression garment, is there anything i can do to prevent the fluids collecting in my left thigh? I wanted to start exercising again, but am worried it will get worse. Thank you!

Doctor Answers 6

The Management of Seromas Following Thigh Lift Surgery

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It's not unusual for patients to develop seromas following thigh lift surgery. The problem may occur for a variety of reasons in the post-operative period. In some cases, the drains may have been removed prematurely, while in other cases patient activity levels are just too high. Regardless of the cause, this problem needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid additional complications. Failure to address this problem can result in the formation of chronic seromas, infection, drainage, wound breakdown and a less than optimal result.

When this situation arises, treatment usually consists of serial sequential aspirations and the use of compression garments. At this point, the thigh is still numb and can be easily aspirated. This usually addresses the problem, but occasionally more aggressive treatment is necessary.

In some cases, replacement of the drain utilizing ultrasonic guidance may become necessary. In other cases, injecting a sclerosing agent such as Tetracycline may be necessary to obliterate the seroma cavity. Rarely, even re-operative surgery may be necessary.

It's safe to say that the vast majority of seromas are successfully treated with conservative treatment. For this reason, it's important that you continue to see your plastic surgeon on a frequent basis.

Seroma treatment

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Seromas can occur after any type of body contouring surgery including a thigh lift. A seroma is fluid naturally produced by the body that can fill a potential space. Potential spaces are produced in many body contouring surgeries.

Seromas can typically be managed with needle aspiration. Recurrence after needle aspiration is common. Typically, several treatments may need to be done. Initially, these may be twice per week and then once per week until the seroma has completely resolved. Each time, the amount of fluid should be decreasing. A compression garment may also help.

You should continue to follow-up with your plastic surgeon until the seroma is resolved. If left untreated, the seroma capsule can become well formed and could require surgery to resolve it.

Fluid collecting in thigh after thigh lift

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You need to follow your surgeon's instructions.
You have what is called a 'seroma' - a non-infected fluid collection.
Your surgeon is treating it correctly - the fluid has to be removed as often as it collects, until it stops collecting.
Yes, exercise is likely to make it worse - 

Best wishes.

Seroma after thigh lift.

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The thigh lift has certain increased risks associated with it.  One of them is the collation of serous fluid, (seroma).  There are a few things that might help, (compression, non sheer forces, etc).  Sometimes they have to be aspirated, or drained.  Sometimes one has to go back to the O.R.  It sounds like you are seeing your board certified plastic surgeon.  Please keep seeing him/her and ask those questions you are concerned about.

Recurrent fluid collections can happen and unfortunately are very annoying

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Unfortunately, after a thigh lift it is possible that fluid collection (seroma) will occur.  Compression garments are the simply first step to address this.  Aspirations come next.  If that still doesn't help, your surgeon may want to place a drain in the seroma cavity.  In rare cases these seromas are very resilient and the only way to finally get rid of them is to open up the cavity and let it heal from inside out, or use a VAC dressing.

Thigh lift fluid collection

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All you can do is wear the compression garment for the fluid collection.  Your doctor will drain it as needed.  You should be following up with him weekly so that he can manage this for you.  I tell my patients to wait at least 6 weeks before returning to the gym and that is when they are recovering without any complications.  You may have to wait longer due to your fluid collection because working out will cause more fluid to collect.  Follow the guidance of your surgeon as well.

Michael Ian Rose, MD
Red Bank 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.