When Does Risk of Seroma Pass After Having a Lower Body Lift? (photo)

I had a lower body lift (full circumferential) almost six weeks ago, during which my surgeon placed four drains. Two were removed at one week, one removed at three weeks and the last one removed at five weeks and two days. The amount of fluid daily was still 50+ but the doctor chose to remove it to avoid infection. For the past 4 days I've been very inactive in hopes of avoiding seroma now that all the drains are out, when does the risk pass so I can feel comfortable upping my activity level?

Doctor Answers 7


At about 4 weeks all drains really need to come out, not only does the risk of infection get high but tissue can grow into the drains. It does not sound like you are re-aacumulating but moving around will help mobilize all fluid out. The fluid will not get down to zero even at 6 weeks

New York Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 76 reviews

Seroma after body lift

Patients with large areas of undermined tissue such as after a body lift are more prone to seroma formation.  If after removal of drains you do not re-accumulate fluid after a few weeks, then it is unlikely to happen.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Seroma risk after body lift

Thank you for asking about the risk of a seroma six weeks after your body lift.

  1. Ask your surgeon about exercise and garments. Follow the advice.
  2. A seroma now is unlikely but possible.
  3. I tell my patients 6 weeks after a body lift or tummy tuck to start with a 15 minute walk. Do 30 minutes next day if no pain/swelling. Start aerobic exercise the same way - 15 minute/day  increments. Pain/swelling mean: Stop!
  4. Best wishes.

Elizabeth Morgan, MD, PhD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Body lift and seroma

Based on your information given, it sounds if your surgeon has done and given you the correct information. At this point I would advise:

1) normal daily activity but no excercise for a total of 8 weeks

2) continuation of the compression garmets for  total of 8 weeks

3) allow all wounds to heal and swelling to resolve  for a total of 9 months. If you have fluid wave( like sitting on a water bed) or isolate bulges I would recommend a ultrasound of the area.

Of course stay in touch with your surgeon and keep him/her informed of you progress.

Robert A. Hardesty, MD, FACS
Riverside Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 99 reviews


congrats. You look good. I typically will always rmove my last drain at 3 weeks, because I think the risk of infection then increases. Yours was removed later and there appears to be no signs of seroma build up or infection. Did your Dr say you could start excercising now or not. There is no good answer to your question, but probably 1 week of rest from the time the last drain was removed should suffice.

Peter Fisher, MD
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 52 reviews

Seroma risk

There is no exact answer here.  I would continue wearing your compression garments and follow the postop care instructions of your PS.  Give yourself time to heal.  Best wishes!
Dr. Basu

Houston, TX

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 211 reviews

When Does Risk of Seroma Pass After Having a Lower Body Lift?

Thanks for the question and for the attached photos (nice result!). 

There is no correct answer here. If your drains were out at five days, and a week later there was not any fluid collection, I would say the risk has passed. But with prolongue drainage there is not really a predictable time course. Communicating with your surgeon, who has followed your recovery is a better source of advice.

All the best. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 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.