Mommy Makeover in Columbia, fluid in the abdomen keeps building up, can't fly until it does. Can I leave against dr's orders?

I'm here in cali Columbia just had tt, bl, bbl done. It's a little over 2 weeks and my flight leaves tomorrow night to go back home. But my body keeps accumulating fluid and I keep getting drained by the doctor's office. Doctor says I can't leave or will not be allowed to leave if my body doesn't stop accumulating fluid.What would happen if I leave against the doctors orders? Can my body reabsorbe the fluid? Please help me understand this situation. I was not expecting this to happen at all.

Doctor Answers 11

Mommy makeover seroma

I'm sorry that your having this problem.  The buildup of fluid between the skin and the muscle is called a "seroma".  This can occur after a tummy tuck.  The body will try to seal the space, but the fluid prevents this happening.  If it's a small amount, the body may reabsorb it.  If it's a larger amount it can cause a reaction and become permanent and compromise your results or even get infected.  

I would never recommend leaving against your surgeon's advice.  


New York Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Mommy Makeover in Columbia, fluid in the abdomen keeps building up, can't fly until it does. Can I leave against dr's orders?

Thank you for the question. I am sorry for what you are going through after tummy tuck surgery.

Sometimes this fluid collection absorbs on its own;  usually however aspiration is necessary.  Often, several episodes of aspiration is necessary.

Of course you can decide to leave against your surgeon's recommendation but then he/she will not be able to help you from a distance.  I recommend following your surgeons recommendation as he/she has your best interest in mind. 

Best wishes.

Surgery in Columbia

Hi! I would not recommend leaving until your doctor discharges you from care. It sounds like you have developed a seroma. This can happen post-op and typically needs to be drained in the OR. I would not comprimise your health and discharge against medical advice. Best of luck to you.

Complications after medical tourism

Thank you for your question.  I am sorry to hear about your complications.  This is one of the main reasons I would advise against plastic surgery outside the US unless you can fully recover in that country.  You can certainly leave against medical advice, however, you will likely have more complications with fluid accumulation requiring possible intervention.   The problem you will encounter, is that a surgeon in your area is unlikely to be willing to take you as a patient and deal with another surgeon's complication.  This really puts you in a tough position, trying to decide whether to stay and let your surgeon handle the complication or leave and risk more complications and possible hospitalization in the US.  Many patients who travel abroad to save a few dollars end up spending more due to complications that are not covered by their insurance.  Good luck. 

Mommy Makeover in Columbia, fluid in the abdomen keeps building up, can't fly until it does. Can I leave against dr's orders?

A fluid collection can cause problems in the future. Your surgeon needs to figure out a plan for you or find a doctor in your hometown who can handle this. 

Karol A. Gutowski, MD, FACS
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 65 reviews

Complication After Tummy Tuck in Colombia

As you are not being held hostage, you can leave against doctors orders, but it would be exactly that, "against doctors orders." This is one of the main reasons having plastic surgery abroad is not locked upon favorably--in case there are complications. Of course you can leave, but you would need to find a plastic surgeon in the United States willing to take over your care. Perhaps your Colombian doctor has a colleague in the US that s/he can refer you to? Be prepared to pay additional fees to the surgeon taking on your care. Best of luck. 

Millicent Odunze-Geers, MD, MPH
Sacramento Physician
4.6 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Seroma after TT

So sorry this is happening to you, but this one of the issues I have discussed in this forum regarding cosmetic surgery tourism. Minor or major issues can occur postop, and it is nice to have your own surgeon taking care of it. Having said that, you can certainly leave, but be prepared to pay a plastic surgeon in your area to care for this problem. Good luck!

Robert M. Tornambe, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 24 reviews

Of course you can leave

you can absolutely leave, you would need to find a surgeon in the US(who will charge you something) to take care of the seroma that continues to form in your abdomen. 

Mommy Makeover in Columbia, fluid in the abdomen keeps building up, can't fly until it does. Can I leave against dr's orders?

Thank you for sharing your question and I am sorry to hear of your recovery difficulties.  Though your surgeon is well-meaning you can leave Colombia and return to the US.  In the event that you elect to, you will need to have a local plastic surgeon monitor and manage your apparent recurrent seroma formation to help see you through the rest of your healing process.  I would start contacting ASPS board certified plastic surgeons in your area to see who may be willing to assist.  Use the link below to search.  Best wishes. 

Nelson Castillo, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Tummy tuck abroad - continuous fluid accumulation

Thank you for asking about your mommy make--over and BBL.

  • I am sorry this has happened.
  • I believe you need to get and get care from a local plastic surgeon unless you have another 3-4 weeks to stay in Colombia for care.
  • So contact a plastic surgeon near your home, explain the situation and arrange to be seen.
  • It will not be free but this fluid will not absorb and even with daily aspiration, can take weeks to subside.
  • You may need to make several phone calls since many plastic surgeons do not care for out-of-country complications for legal reasons.
  • You of course can leave the country - although I am glad your Colombian surgeon is responsible enough to want to care for you.
  • For those considering surgery abroad - please realize that having surgery out of the country is inherently riskier than surgery in the USA for many reasons - complications are possible after all surgery and minor ones such as this occur 10% of the time. 

Always see a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon. Best wishes. Elizabeth Morgan MD PHD FACS

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.