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A seroma is a pocket of clear fluid that develops after surgery or an injury. The fluid can collect in tissues or under the skin. Breast, neck, and abdominal surgery are the most common causes of a seroma. A drain used after surgery can also lead to a seroma if it fails or is removed too early. A major surgery or a surgery used to remove tissue increases your risk for a seroma.


Seek care immediately if:

  • You see pus, watery blood, or fluid coming from your surgery site.
  • Your surgery wound comes open.
  • You have a high fever.
  • You have severe pain, redness, warmth, or swelling in the surgery site.
  • Your heart is beating faster than usual.
  • You have a lump near the surgery site, or the area is tender.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a mild fever that does not come down with medicine.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Antibiotics help prevent or treat a bacterial infection.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children under 6 months of age without direction from your child's healthcare provider.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Manage a seroma:

  • Check your surgery site for signs of infection. These include swelling, red skin, or pus. Infection may mean that the seroma is developing into an abscess (pocket of pus). You may need surgery to treat an abscess.
  • Follow your healthcare provider's activity instructions. Your healthcare provider will tell you if it is safe for you to exercise and do your daily activities while you have a seroma. He or she will tell you which activities are right for you and how much activity to have each day. You may also need to limit certain movements if your seroma needs to be drained.
  • Wear pressure devices, if directed. Pressure devices include pressure bandages and binders. Your healthcare provider will tell you which device to use and how long to wear it each day.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.