The following post from our forum is from a woman who had a tummy tuck and developed a seroma after 3 weeks. Her surgeon aspirated the fluid three times and now wants to install a wick drain to remove the remaining fluid.

Date: 01/18/2011 Submitted by: JackieTummy Tuck Seroma Developed After 3 Weeks

My tummy tuck was 11/30, and seemed to go well. 3 weeks in I was afraid I had developed a seroma, and sure enough, I had. First aspiration was 250cc, second aspiration 4 days later was 150 cc, third aspiration a week later was 125 cc. I am now at 8 weeks, and surgeon will do no further aspirations, even though I’m clearly carrying more water in a pocket just below my belly button. She wants to do a ‘wick drain’ (which I’m fine with – I just want the fluid gone), but due to her vacation schedule, this procedure has to wait another 2 weeks. Would another surgeon, or my primary care physician be able to do this wick drain? or do I have to suck it up and wait for my plastic surgeon? Has anyone had a wick drain? Should I drastically limit physical activity until then? Is it possible for my seroma to get bigger during the two week wait? How long will it take for tissues to adhere to each other after the wick is in place? I’d sure appreciate some guidance.


Date: 01/18/2011 Submitted by: Tanner


I can’t answer your medical questions but maybe I can give you another perspective on your drainage situation.

First, I have never heard of anyone having a wick drain after a tummy tuck. I don’t even know what a wick drain is. I looked for information about it on the internet and the only thing that I could find was “Wick Drain – A strip of material (such as gauze) placed in a wound to serve as a drain.” It doesn’t appear to be a common procedure following a tummy tuck (I could be mistaken) or else I should have found more information on it.

Did your surgeon say why she would not do any further aspirations? Maybe she does not think you need any and that your body can absorb the rest? Did your surgeon say you needed the wick drain or did she suggest it to accommodate your concerns and your desire to get rid of the fluid?

According to the drain rates and numbers you provided..
– After 4 days she drained 150 cc which averages 37.5 cc per day
– After 7 days later she drained 125 cc which averages 18 cc per day
(definitely slowing down)

My surgeon told me “When the amount of fluid put out by the drain falls below 30cc over a 24-hour period for 2 consecutive days, then the drains can be removed.”

By now I would think that your rate would be very low if not nearly stopped (especially if you had to wait another two weeks for your surgeon).

According to that information (and depending what else your surgeon told you) I would not be that concerned over the remaining fluid (especially if the surgeon wasn’t) and I would think that your body would absorb the rest. It might just take some time.

As far as “Should I drastically limit physical activity until then? Is it possible for my seroma to get bigger during the two week wait?” I wouldn’t think that you would have to drastically limit physical activity and that anything is possible but probably not likely (my guess) but why not call and ask your surgeon’s nurse these questions. Most likely she can answer all of your questions over the phone.

If you don’t get any satisfaction with the above, you can also give your family doctor a call and make an appointment. He/she could examine you and give you their opinion. Hope this helped a little. I would be interested in knowing the outcome.

Good luck.