Cosmetic Surgery Tips

Blister on Tummy Tuck Incision

Blistering is a common complication of tummy tucks, but it is not as serious as it sounds—it can be treated easily with medication and lotions.

Fluid that becomes trapped under the skin as a result of tissue swelling or inflammation causes blisters. This fluid can get trapped between your skin and muscle, forming a blister around the incision site. It’s important to treat your blisters early so that they don’t get infected, which could lead to scarring or other complications down the road.

What causes blisters after tummy tucks? Blisters can occur after any type of surgery because surgical wounds are often very large and deep, making them more susceptible to infection or fluid buildup under the skin (called seroma). Tummy tucks are especially prone to this because they involve cutting through fat layers, which creates more space for fluid buildup than other types of surgeries do.

Blister on Tummy Tuck Incision

A seroma is a collection of fluid that builds up under the surface of your skin. Seromas may develop after a surgical procedure, most often at the site of the surgical incision or where tissue was removed. The fluid, called serum, doesn’t always build up right away. The swelling and fluid may start collecting several weeks after surgery.

What causes a seroma?

A seroma may form after a surgical procedure. In some cases, a seroma may form after a very minor surgery. Most seromas, though, will appear after a rather extensive procedure, or one in which a lot of tissue is removed or disrupted.

Your surgical team will place drainage tubes in and around the incision to try to prevent a seroma. The drainage tubes may remain in your body for a few hours or a few days after the surgery in order to prevent fluid buildup.

In many cases, the use of drainage tubes will be sufficient to prevent a seroma. However, that’s not always the case, and a week or two after the procedure, you may begin noticing the signs of fluid buildup near the incision.

The most common types of surgery that result in seromas include:

  • body contouring, such as liposuction or arm, breast, thigh, or buttocks lifts
  • breast augmentation or mastectomy
  • hernia repair
  • abdominoplasty, or a tummy tuck

Risk Factors of a Seroma

Several factors increase your risk for developing a seroma after a surgical procedure. Not everyone with these risk factors will develop a seroma, however. These risk factors include:

  • extensive surgery
  • a procedure that disrupts large amounts of tissue
  • a history of seromas following surgical procedures

How to Identify a Seroma

In many cases, a seroma will have the appearance of a swollen lump, like a large cyst. It may also be tender or sore when touched. A clear discharge from the surgical incision is common when a seroma is present. You may have an infection if the discharge becomes bloody, changes color, or develops an odor.

In rare cases, a seroma may calcify. This will leave a hard knot in the seroma site.

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What Complications May Be Caused Be Seromas?

A seroma may drain externally onto your skin’s surface from time to time. The drainage should be clear or slightly bloody. If you begin experiencing the symptoms of an infection, the seroma may have developed into an abscess.

You’ll need medical treatment for an abscess. It’s unlikely to disappear on its own, and it may grow in size and become very uncomfortable. The infection may also make you very sick, especially if the infection spreads to the bloodstream. This puts you at risk of developing a severe illness or sepsis.

Symptoms of a serious infection include:

  • fever and chills
  • confusion
  • blood pressure changes
  • rapid heart rate or breathing

When to Seek Emergency Medical Help

Serious or long-term problems related to a seroma are very rare. However, seek emergency medical attention f you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • white or very bloody drainage from the seroma
  • a fever that exceeds 100.4°F
  • increasing redness around the seroma
  • rapidly increasing swelling
  • increasing pain
  • warm skin on or around the seroma
  • rapid heart rate

You should also seek emergency medical attention if swelling causes the surgical incision to open up or if you notice pus draining from the incision site.

How Are Seromas Treated?

Minor, small seromas don’t always need medical treatment. That’s because the body may naturally reabsorb the fluid in a few weeks or months.

Medication won’t make the fluid disappear faster, but you may be able to take over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) to reduce any pain or discomfort, and to help ease any inflammation caused by the seroma. Talk with your doctor about your options.

Larger seromas may require treatment by your doctor. Your doctor may suggest draining the seroma if it’s large or painful. To do this, your doctor will insert a needle into the seroma and remove the fluid with a syringe.

Seromas may return and your doctor may need to drain a seroma multiple times. In some cases, your doctor may suggest removing the seroma entirely. This is accomplished with a very minor surgical procedure.

Can seromas be prevented?

Surgical drainage systems are used in some surgeries to prevent a seroma from developing. Before your procedure, however, you should discuss with your doctor the likelihood of developing a seroma and what they can do to help prevent it.

Also, ask your doctor about compression garments. These medical devices are designed to help skin and tissue heal faster. They may also reduce swelling and bruising after a surgery. These dressings may help reduce your risk of developing a seroma.

These small steps may help prevent a seroma from forming if you have surgery. If a seroma does develop, be sure to check with your doctor so you both can decide on the best steps for treatment. Though bothersome, seromas are rarely serious, so rest assured that you’ll eventually heal.

Tummy Tuck Binder vs Compression Garment

Part of a successful recovery is wearing your tummy tuck compression garment, also known as a binder. Wear this as directed for a easier and faster recovery.

Atummy tuck compression garment is a heavily elasticized cloth that stretches around your mid-section, much like a girdle. It fits quite snugly, applying even and constant pressure on the encased area. The garment typically covers the area below your breasts down to the hips or pelvic area — everywhere that was treated during your tummy tuck, including the immediate surrounding area.

Why do I need to wear a compression garment after my tummy tuck? This is a question we often receive from patients. Because it fits so snugly, some patients find it rather uncomfortable to wear. However, you should know that you should wear it as advised. A compression garment can help a great deal in your recovery after abdominoplasty. Here are the top four reasons:

1. A reduced risk of seroma

Excess serous fluid collection filling a pocket under the skin is technically referred to as a seroma (when it is blood, it is known as a hematoma). Seromas are considered to be the most common complication associated with abdominoplasty, according to several studies, including one from 2002 published in the Annals of Plastic Surgery. The constant, even pressure applied by your compression garment is designed to push down on tissues that were rearranged during your surgery, so that pockets where fluid could collect are minimized or eliminated. The garment also promotes circulation. These two reasons are believed to be how the incidence of seromas can be decreased.

2. Better circulation

And since we’re on the topic of circulation, we all know that keeping your blood going during your recovery is key to getting better, since it’s how beneficial nutrients are delivered to the treated areas to promote healing. This also reduces swelling, bruising and the risk of blood clots, which can be serious or even fatal.

3. More comfort

Your compression garment helps keep tissues in place while you move around. Damaged tissues and incision lines are protected from being pulled or strained. That means you’ll feel more comfortable. In fact, some patients like to wear their garment for weeks after it’s okay for them to stop because they feel more comfortable with it on.

4. Better contouring

While great care is taken to tighten your mid-section and minimize any contour irregularities, there may still be a chance that uneven contours may appear. Many contour irregularities can become permanent if they’re not corrected early on in your recovery. A compression garment helps to flatten out any lumps and bumps that appear.

Plain white cotton tank top to wear under a tummy tuck compression garment.

However, sometimes an ill fitting compression garment may leave permanent indentations. For example, seams can leave long lines in your skin. That’s why it’s important to make sure that your garment fits properly. If in doubt, let us know. Another option is to either wear your garment inside out if you can, or wear a seamless tight cotton shirt underneath your garment as a protective layer.–>

Having difficulty breathing?

We’ve had patients complain about having difficulty breathing while wearing their compression garment. While it should be snug, your garment should never prevent you from breathing properly. It should also not cause you any pain while you wear it. If it does, let us know as soon as possible so we can get you another one.

In some cases, patients find it difficult to breathe not because of the garment, but because they’re breathing unnaturally.

Breathing right

When you breathe, there are three parts of your body that are involved: the intercostals muscles, diaphragm and abdominal muscles.

The intercostals muscles are located between your ribs. When you breathe in, these muscles contract upwards and outwards to allow your lungs to expand with air. At the same time, your diaphragm moves downward toward your abdomen to create more space for the lungs as well. With proper and natural breathing, you’ll see your chest rise and widen while your stomach expand. It’s exactly how we breathed when we were younger.


Don’t be discouraged, because it is possible to have a leaner body contour.

Belly breathing

As we become more sedentary, we start to get lazy with how we breathe. Instead of involving these three body parts with every breath, we only use our stomach. Your abdominal muscles expand and contract, but your chest doesn’t move. This is known as belly breathing, and it’s a habit that can lead to a bloated stomach that no dieting or tummy tuck can fix!

Belly breathing is why some patients may find it difficult to breathe while wearing their compression garment. They only rely on their stomachs to take in air, but the compression of their garment prevents their stomachs from expanding.

If this is true for you, take a moment to be conscious of how you breathe. Feel your rib cage expand with every breath, and your diaphragm and abdominal muscles will automatically work together at the same time.

Stage 1 Tummy Tuck Compression Garment

Fluid has to be expelled from your body after it undergoes cosmetic surgery such as:

  1. Liposuction.
  2. Tummy tuck.
  3. Breast augmentation, reduction or breast lift.
  4. Body lift or body contouring.
  5. Brazilian butt lift.

For this to be efficiently performed, you’ll need to wear recovery surgical compression garments. Recovery period is divided into two stages: stage 1 and stage 2 recovery.

Post-Surgical Compression Garments for Stage 1: Why?

Your surgeon will do his or her best to expel the fluids during surgery, but they won’t be able to drain all of this body fluid during the procedure. Some of it will have to be drained out afterwards by putting on a post surgical compression garment, immediately after your surgery. This post surgery stage is referred to as the First Stage of Post-Operative Recovery.

About the first stage of post-operative recovery

During this stage, you’ll notice a considerable amount of swelling and bruising. The use of these Stage 1 post surgical compression garments will help you with these issues. They are designed to allow open drainage process so you can conveniently remove the excess fluid from your body after a liposuction, lifting, Tummy Tuck, breast augmentation or Brazilian butt lift.

Common features of a post surgical compression garment

Typically, a stage 1 post surgical compression garment is designed with zippers or eye and hook front or side closures. This helps to minimize friction and makes it easier for you to pull against tender skin and incisions. You’ll find several types of stage 1 post surgery garments specialized by surgery type. Among other things, you can find: surgical bras for breast implants or breast reduction, abdominal binders and Tummy Tuck compression garments, liposuction garments, arm lift compression sleeves, bodysuits for body sculpting (Liposculpture) or body lift, post surgical compression garments for butt lift, or compression vests for male pectoral implants or breast reduction.

When should you wear these Stage 1 post surgery garments?

Wearing these Stage 1 post surgery garments has to be done immediately after the surgery. You will then notice that the swelling and bruising will be reduced, which would also imply a shorter healing time.

How long you should wear a stage 1 post surgical compression garment?

Ideally, you should be wearing these post surgical compression garments for one to two weeks, or even longer depending on the type of plastic surgery you are undergoing. But it is always best to ask your plastic surgeon with regards to which type of surgical compression garments you should use, and the length of time you should put it on. If you experience any inconvenience, it is best to refrain from using your post surgical compression garment and to seek immediate assistance from your surgeon or physician.

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