How is a seroma treated?

Small seromas may not require any treatment as they often resolve on their own. Larger seromas often require aspiration (removal of fluid), which is usually done with a needle. Sometimes multiple aspirations are required, or a drain may be placed until fluid stops accumulating. Seromas that become infected may require antibiotic therapy and, although rarely, surgery may be required to treat a seroma.

Common seroma treatments

Common treatments for a seroma include:

  • Antibiotics to treat infection
  • Aspiration to remove accumulated fluid
  • Drain placement to enable drainage of accumulating fluid
  • Observation to monitor the seroma
  • Surgery to repair the area of the seroma

What are the potential complications of a seroma?

Left untreated, a seroma can result in serious, even life-threatening complications. You can play an active role in minimizing your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan you and your health care provider design specifically for you. Complications of seroma include:

  • Abscess formation
  • Calcification of the seroma
  • Poor cosmetic result; unsatisfactory appearance of a surgical scar
  • Sepsis (life-threatening bacterial blood infection)
  • Surgical wound dehiscence (opening of the surgical site)


  1. Seroma (fluid build-up).
  2. Boostrom SY, Throckmorton AD, Boughey JC, et al. Incidence of clinically significant seroma after breast and axillary surgery. Abstract presented at: ASCO 2008 Breast Cancer Symposium; September 5-7, 2008; Washington, DC. Accessed May 27, 2011.

What is a seroma?

A seroma is an accumulation of fluid in a tissue or organ that can occur after surgery, or sometimes after an injury such as blunt trauma. The fluid, called serum, leaks out of nearby damaged blood and lymphatic vessels. Cells are typically present in the fluid, which is normally clear.

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What are the symptoms of a seroma?

Symptoms of a seroma include swelling at or near a surgical site and leakage of clear fluid through the incision. The area may or may not be painful. If infection develops, additional symptoms can include leakage of pus, redness, warmth or swelling, tenderness, or fever and chills.

Common symptoms of a seroma

Common symptoms of a seroma include:


What causes a seroma?

Seromas develop as a result of damage to blood and lymphatic vessels that occurs during surgery or as the result of an injury. Fluid and cells from the damaged vessels leak into the tissues and form a soft fluid collection. Seromas are most common after extensive surgeries or those that involve disruption of a large amount of tissue, including surgeries performed for Read more about seromacauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 8, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.