What is seroma?

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Seroma: Overview

After a surgery, fluid can collect under the skin near the cut the doctor made (incision). This soft, puffy area is called a seroma. It can be tender to touch. The incision may even have opened up.

Some seromas get better on their own. But when there is a lot of fluid under the skin, a seroma is drained to help the area heal.

If your incision has opened up, it may either be packed with gauze or left open to heal. To prevent infection, make sure to keep the area clean and to take all medicines as prescribed.

How can you care for your child who has a seroma?

  • Follow your doctor's instructions for seroma care. If your child has a drain tube, your doctor will tell you how to take care of it.
  • Look at your child's incision every day. Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Do not allow your child to bathe unless you can keep the incision dry. Start with sponge baths. Ask your doctor when it is safe for your child to shower.
  • Do not scrub or rub the incision. And avoid clothing that rubs it.
  • Leave any tape strips (such as Steri-Strips) on the incision. They will fall off on their own, or your doctor may tell you when to take them off.
  • Do not put lotion or powder on incisions.
  • Keep the incision out of direct sunlight.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your doctor may give you specific instructions on when your child can do normal activities again, such as sports and going back to school.

Seroma: When to call

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You have severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision or a yellow or green discharge that is increasing.
    • A fever.
  • You bleed through a bandage.
  • The incision opens up.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • The incision is not healing as expected.

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The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.