Will a seroma heal on its own?

You might be wondering what the heck is a ‘seroma’, and if you’ve stumbled across this article full of jargon then you probably think it’s a fancy type of tomato sauce. Unfortunately, in the world of medical terminology, there can be some pretty unfriendly words to decipher. Long story short though: a seroma is build up of fluid that gathers underneath the surface of your skin after surgery, an injury or sometimes they just appear outta nowhere.

But whether it will disappear as quickly as it arrived? Let’s dive deeper into this mystery by answering one simple question –will a seroma heal on its own?

What causes Seromas

First off, let’s establish how these unsightly pockets come to be.

  1. Surgery
  2. After certain surgical procedures such as mastectomy or abdominoplasty…
  3. Trauma
  4. Serious trauma may damage soft tissue that can leak fluid….
  5. Chronic inflammatory conditions
  6. Conditions like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis….
  7. Infections
  8. Certain bacterial infections make fluids accumulate under the skin………
  9. Cancer treatment
  10. Radiation therapy for cancer may lead to destruction……

And because we live in times where almost anything goes: hiccups have also been known to cause postoperative hernia which results in formation of disturbing fatty tissues causing irritation which eventually leads to seromas (Bet you didn’t see that coming).

In general, anywhere with incisions made through muscle layers show higher occurrences of these abnormalities throughout recovery.

So…Will it Heal On Its Own?

The million-dollar answer isn’t so straight-forward– First take note no two bodies are identical…

Here are some factors that influence healing tendencies:

The Size Of The Seroma

Generally speaking larger ones tend lend themselves more towards needing intervention…

Keep in mind that most small seromas can be reabsorbed by the body on their own but the larger ones – well, you might want to brace yourself for a surgical procedure.

Biological factors

Some people’s bodies have no problems with absorbing any excess fluid whereas others may struggle more in this regards….So who knows, maybe you’re one of those lucky ducks whose body just gets rid of these things(Godspeed).

Intervention Options

If your case starts pushing towards intervention territory what options are open?
Here are some avenues doctors might suggest:

  • Aspiration
  • Compression Garments
  • Surgical excision


Aspiring to know more about aspirations?

Aspiration involves using a needle and syringe to extract the built-up fluids. This can work even when they aren’t too pronounced so it’s a viable option for small-seroma situations (just make sure it’s being executed properly and not repeatedly resulting in further damage than good done).

Most importantly –this is intended as only temporary solution as recurrence rates are pretty high if this is not pursued with appropriate follow up care.

Compression Garments

Compression works wonders although like any other healing process it requires ample time.

There’s quite wide variety of products available today depending on your source preference (such as Zipper-front vests, standard binders , adjustable wraps or specialized mastectomy bras). In general once a product has been chosen from whichever category suits, regular use upkeep is necessary.

Sidenote – never underestimate how innovative clothing industry has become tackling medical issues!

Surgical Excision

When all else fails there remains surgery. Itching for an excuse to get under knife?
Not so fast…

Depending on severity, location etc–doctors may determine that removing them surgically will aid towards quick recovery chance..

This won’t stand true for everyone though –as healing processes do vary from patient to patient.

Before undergoing any procedure have a frank discourse with your doc about what will be involved & how you can best prepare for it.


Here’s the thing: Better safe than sorry.

Recognizing early warning signs accelerates the recovery process and minimizes damage!

A few tell tale symptoms are:

   -    Swelling that lasts longer than normal

    -   Drainage of fluids after an operation or trauma

    -    Unusual tightness in surgical garment

Initiate regular check ins post-opp particularly if there were drains in place during surgery….
If signs reoccur then make sure to revisit physician who’d done initial procedure.

In conclusion, the answer as usual depends on multiple factors and every case might require its own particular remedy. Key take aways however are– following up regularly after surgery , preventive care especially in high risk cases & acknowledging warning signs earlier rather later all help mitigate against extended healing periods so keep those antennas raised!