How To Get Rid Of Seroma After A Tummy Tuck?

Many individuals undergo tummy tuck (abdominoplasty) surgery after losing a significant amount of weight or as part of a mommy makeover after pregnancy. In fact, in the United States alone, surgeons perform over 130,000 tummy tucks each year, and it is one of the most requested cosmetic surgeries.

As with any surgery, there are risks and complications that can occur and one of the most common complications that can occur after a tummy tuck is called seroma. Today, we are going to talk about this complication, which involves fluid buildup and swelling, and how to get rid of seroma after a tummy tuck.

What Is Seroma?

This complication involves a buildup of fluid that collects under the skin near the areas where excess skin and tissue have been removed. This fluid, which appears to be a watery-yellowish color, is produced by your body as part of its built-in healing process and is responsible for swelling. It often begins to manifest after about three days, but it can take a few weeks to appear.

Who Is At Increased Risk For A Seroma?

It is possible for anyone to develop a seroma after surgery, but there are certain conditions that can increase an individual’s risk of developing this issue, including:

  • Obesity;
  • The surgery involved extensive correction, and a substantial volume of tissue was removed or disturbed;
  • If your family has a history of seroma complications after surgery;
  • Your diet does not contain enough protein.

You Will Know If You Have A Seroma

  • If you have a puffy, raised area that looks like a bubble, lump, or cyst and may feel tender to the touch;
  • If you can press on the swollen area and it feels squishy like it is filled with liquid;
  • If there is a watery or yellowish fluid leaking from the incision site;
  • If you have smelly or thicker fluid draining from incisions, you may be dealing with an infection, and you will want to contact your doctor right away. The danger is that the infection can quickly worsen resulting in sepsis.

How To Get Rid Of Seroma After A Tummy Tuck

If you develop a seroma after a tummy tuck, do not panic because, most of the time, they are not dangerous and do not cause further problems. It is recommended that you see your doctor so they can determine if any type of treatment is necessary. Some of the strategies that might be used to get rid of seroma swelling after a tummy tuck include:

Wait And Observe
Your doctor may determine that your seroma is minor, and they will only want to keep an eye on it. Sometimes, they resolve on their own, and the body will naturally flush the excess fluid out through the lymphatic system over the course of a few weeks or months, so no medical intervention is needed.
Pain Relief
Often, retaining excess fluid will cause pain or discomfort, and your physician may advise you to take over-the-counter medication to help until the swelling from the seroma diminishes.
Medical Intervention
If you need to get rid of significant swelling from seroma after a tummy tuck, your doctor may need to use a syringe to eliminate the excess fluid. Sometimes, this procedure may need to be repeated, depending on the severity. This strategy is usually reserved for cases where the seroma is causing significant pain or limiting mobility because it can increase the risk of developing an infection.

If you do need to get rid of a seroma after a tummy tuck through syringe draining, it is very important that you follow all of the instructions for aftercare so it does not get infected. If at any time, you develop a fever or are finding it hard to breathe, seek emergency care right away.

Surgery may be needed to get rid of a seroma after a tummy tuck but if so, the surgery is minor and it is a very rare occurrence. Make sure you follow the directions for taking care of your wound after surgery to avoid infection.

Is There A Way To Avoid A Seroma After A Tummy Tuck?

Unfortunately, there is no way you can absolutely guarantee that you will not experience a seroma; however, there are a few things you can do to reduce your risks.

Choose Your Surgeon Wisely
Choose a board-certified cosmetic surgeon who has extensive experience in performing the type of tummy tuck you are having. Every case is different, and the extent of the surgery can range from minor skin removal to major tissue extraction. The more extensive the surgery, the more risk there is for seroma, so it is critical that the surgeon is highly skilled at the techniques needed to handle your specific circumstances.

You should feel comfortable with the surgeon, and it is important that they obtain a comprehensive picture of your medical history and the current state of your health before they proceed. If you feel they are skipping steps or you do not feel like they are answering your question, find another surgeon. You should not work with a surgeon only because they have a lower price; your life is in their hands during surgery, and your recovery as well as the final results depend on them.

Wear Your Compression Garments
Many doctors require their patients to wear compression garments after undergoing tummy tuck surgery. These special form-fitting garments help keep the swelling down and promote faster healing. If you are instructed to wear them, do so diligently to ensure you have done all you can to prevent seroma from occurring.
Get Your Rest
Make sure to rest as much as you can and keep your movements slow and controlled to avoid causing damage along the incision lines. Your doctor can also give you some recommendations on sleeping and resting positions that will help with drainage.
Use Warm Compresses
Applying warm compresses to the surgical areas a few times a day can help promote natural fluid drainage and elimination through the body’s lymphatic system.
Fend Off Infection
Make sure you do all you can to avoid infection. Wash your hands before redressing or touching your incisions. Use new compresses each time, and if you currently have surgical drains in place, make sure they are not obstructed in any way.

Hopefully, you will never need to use these tips on how to get rid of a seroma after a tummy tuck, but if you have any additional questions or would like to learn more, contact Cosmetic Clinic in Buckhead, Atlanta. If you are considering having tummy tuck surgery, we would love to talk with you about the procedure, what it involves, and the different techniques that can be used.

Dr. Angelina Posteov is a triple board-certified cosmetic surgeon with extensive experience in all types of tummy tucks and mommy makeovers. Set up a consultation today to learn more!

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