Seroma After Breast Augmentation: Why This Happens

Seroma is something that forms after any surgery. It’s just the accumulation of fluid in pockets. And it’s commonly seen after breast augmentation. So why exactly does this happen? Well, you’ll find out the answer to this question here.

breast augmentation

Ever heard of seroma? Well, not many people know that a word like seroma even exists. This is actually a medical term for the buildup of fluid. It usually occurs where tissue in a part of the body has been removed. And a common site to find seroma is in the breast. That, of course, is after any breast surgery was performed. And one common breast surgery that people opt for these days is breast augmentation. Seroma after breast augmentation is now quite common. But exactly do seromas develop? What’s the exact cause of seromas? Well, the answer will be waiting for you below.

Seromas are not in any way harmful. And usually, they heal on their own. Over time seroma formed in the breast would dissolve on its own. But many people tend to get scared when they develop seroma in the breast. That’s because they think it’s related to cancer. The good news is that it isn’t. It doesn’t cause breast cancer nor does it increase the risk of having breast cancer. So you can relax a bit. The thing though is that it can cause a lot of discomfort to the patient. And at the same time, it might increase the stay of the patient in the hospital. Let’s take a better look at what seroma is all about.

Why Does This Happen?

The exact cause of seroma is not known. The only thing that’s confirmed is that it can be found at sites where surgery was performed. Actually, it is believed that seromas form as a result of the response of the body to dead space. Normally, the tissue in the breast is attached somewhere. But after the surgery tissue is removed and this causes dead space.

Certain risk factors would increase the chance of a person having a seroma in the breast. And they include:

  1. Breast size
  2. Age
  3. Body mass index
  4. Drugs such as tamoxifen or heparin
  5. Previous surgery

Researchers actually feel that the formation of seromas is actually due to an inflammatory response.

Normally, seromas are seen about 7-10 days after the surgery. That, of course, is after the tubes are no longer there. The areas that were involved in the surgery now start to develop spots that feel like liquid. And usually, they are under the skin.

Surgery is actually a procedure that would cause damage to lymph vessels and even blood vessels. It also damages some tissue in that area. This leads to an inflammatory response in the body. This response, in turn, causes the damaged tissues and vessels to release fluid.

This is the reason why a person that just underwent surgery would experience swelling and pain. Sometimes, the fluid will now form pockets. And the pockets in turn form seroma.

The surgeon can actually reduce the risk of the formation of seroma. If the risk of having dead space is reduced, then the risk of having a seroma also reduces greatly.

Symptoms and Complications

The symptoms associated with seroma would start sufficing after a week of doing the surgery. For some, the symptoms can be earlier. And for some, the symptoms can be later.

The first thing is that the area would feel tender. After a while, it would be swollen. Then the lump would show up in about a day or two. Also, the area would appear red and sore.

There are a few complications that could arise from a seroma. The risk of developing an infection would actually increase. Well, this depends on the location.

At the same time, it can also cause an increase in the pressure at the incision site. And this could actually cause the incision site to be pulled apart.

If the seroma lasts for quite some time it could pull the skin. And in the end, it can stretch the skin more. Thus, causing the skin to sag.

The most serious complication is lymphedema. This is the blocking of lymph ducts. And it causes fluid to build up. It becomes quite painful and uncomfortable.

Prevention of Seroma After Breast Augmentation

Prevention they say is better than a cure. Instead of trying to find out how you can deal with it if it happens, why not take a look at how you can prevent it from happening.

Surgical drains

This is actually a closed suction drain. This is known to help reduce the risk of the formation of seroma. But at the same time, it increases the risk of having an infection. That’s if it’s left there for a long time. But the thing is that many surgeons make the mistake of not removing the drains right on time after the surgery.

Shoulder movement

Moving your shoulder too early after having breast augmentation increases the risk of the formation of seroma. But also not moving your shoulder right in time can also increase the risk. So the best thing is to talk to your surgeon about the best time to start moving your shoulder.


Before patients use compression bandages after having the implant. But now people don’t do that as much. Instead, you can wear tight-fitting clothes and firm bras after the surgery. This would reduce the risk of a seroma forming in the breast.

It’s true that seroma would normally dissolve on its own. But if you notice that the symptoms are persistent and really uncomfortable then go see your surgeon. Your surgeon would be able to guide you as to what steps to take regarding seroma. Make sure that whatever you do, you have your surgeon carried along. This is to avoid any form of complication.

Does everyone that has breast augmentation done have seroma? Of course not. This is not something that would always happen. Well, the fluid accumulation would indeed occur as a result of the inflammatory response. But for some people that would be all, there is to it. It might or might not happen. You might not be able to control the formation of seroma. But make sure you try as much as you can to prevent seroma after breast augmentation.

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