A seroma is a tumor-like collection of fluid that occurs at a surgical site or after trauma. They are formed by an accumulation of lymph, which is a fluid made in part of white blood cells. They are a normal part of your bodies healing process, and small seromas form after all surgical incisions. They appear as lumps filled with yellow or white fluid, and are not a life-threatening condition by themselves. They become a problem when the fluid continues to collect, often resulting in pain and the threat of infection. At this point, medical intervention is necessary. Though there are some things you can do at home to manage your seromas, only your surgeon or doctor can suggest or administer the proper treatment. No medication treats or cures seromas; doctors allow them to resolve on their own, or they drain them.
Maintain your drainage tubes. After your surgery, your doctor may have fitted a drainage device for your wound. Ask your surgeon for specific care and hygiene instructions. In general, don't sleep on the same side as the tube. Empty the drain as needed. Keep your hands very clean when changing the dressing or handling the tube.
See your surgeon or doctor to have the seroma drained. If the seroma becomes large enough to cause pain or interfere with your lifestyle, your surgeon may have you come in for draining. Using a needle, the surgeon will drain out as much liquid as possible, making the seroma smaller. In extreme conditions, your doctor will perform another surgery to remove the seroma.
Make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as possible if you have issues with your seroma. They can take anywhere from a month to a year to heal, and you should not have to live with pain and discomfort while recovering. Note the condition and size of your seroma and alert your doctor if it is getting larger, not gradually reducing in size, if fluid begins to drain from it, or if there is redness, warmth and tenderness at the site. Talking to your doctor as soon as you can will help prevent complications.
Know when to seek immediate medical care. Seromas can become infected, and serious infections can be life-threatening. Call 911 if your symptoms include pus draining from the seroma, a fever higher than 101 degrees, severe pain, rapid heart rate, or if the wound opens significantly. These indicate a serious infection.