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Tummy Tuck Day 15 Post Op, My Seroma
In the second week I seemed to develop a seroma. In about 1% of tummy tucks, after the drain is removed, the body produces too much fluid and the fluid starts accumulating. This is called a seroma and this extra fluid (and blood) needs to be drained with a syringe. Usually several sessions are needed with the plastic surgeon to drain the seroma until it does not reappear.
As time went on, it seemed unusual to me that my swollen abdomen was the same size day and night. My surgeon had told me that the best way to distinguish between normal swelling and a collection of fluid and blood was for the degree of fullness to be less in the AM. Swelling in the tissues usually worsens through the day. So, because my lower abdomen was the same fullness day and night my plastic surgeon sent me for an ultrasound to see if I had a seroma. Remember that I was communicating with him from my new home 700 miles away. As such, I could not just go to his office to be examined. That may have alleviated a lot of my concerns, and clarified this ambiguous situation.
The technician who performed my ultrasound on May 2nd showed it to me. Interestingly, she did not see it at first pass until she went all the way around the sides of my body. There she found a little collection of fluid on each side. I told her that I could not feel the seroma when I was flat on my back but that I could feel it when I stood upright. I say this because I conducted some tests that a plastic surgeon had suggested to me on the ObesityHelp.com Plastic Surgery Message Board, which you may read here.
When I stood, I could feel a wave of fluid as I pushed on my abdomen with one hand and my hand on the other side of my abdomen rose in unison.
So the tech did the ultrasound again with me standing. This time all the fluid collected in my lower abdomen. It is wide and not too tall, almost like a sausage.
I asked her how large it was and she had difficulty to fit the entire width of the seroma on the screen. So in my mind, I was thinking that this fluid collection was large. She did some measurements and told me 70cc but that really did not mean anything to me. She told me that my surgeon would have the results in 1-2 business days, which meant that I might have to wait until Monday for the results. Going all weekend wondering would have been nerve-wracking. So the tech said my surgeon could call the radiologist for his report beforehand.
I left with the impression that this seroma would have to be drained.
After that, I called the patient coordinator at my surgeon’s office and relayed the technician’s message. My surgeon was truly terrific because after being in surgery all day, before going home he called and spoke with both the tech and the radiologist on the very same day that I had my scan performed. Then he called me.
My surgeon told me that the radiologist said the seroma was 5" wide and 1/4" deep and too small to drain. My surgeon further asked if the radiologist would be able to aspirate the fluid using ultrasound to guide him. The radiologist said no. The typical protocol would be for the surgeon to palpate me, find the pocket of fluid, and aspirate it. The ultrasound assisted aspiration by a radiologist would be much more accurate.
At this point I was incredulous. I wondered if the radiologist had seen the images of me standing and the fluid pooling or if he had only seen the first set of images with me lying down. Even the best and brightest people make mistakes.
Little did I know that I had not even entered “swell hell” yet. Find out what was in store for me.
Living life well-fed,
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Published On: May 08, 2013