There's a lot of information to absorb when you're in the research stage of your boobie journey! Like, what is a seroma?
Swelling is a normal part of healing after any surgery. When fluid collects around your breasts (to help heal the area) it will cause your breasts to be swollen and sore.
Sometimes, if there's too much fluid, it can cause a problem called a seroma.
A seroma is a collection of excess fluid at a surgical site.
Try not to be too concerned as swelling after breast implant surgery is completely normal. Some of us even experience what we’d call ‘spongy sternum’, when the area between your breasts is so puffed up you can kinda squish it.
Signs of a Seroma
Because it's hard to say what's a normal amount of swelling after surgery (every surgery, and every individual, is different) it can be useful to know what to look out for.
A seroma after breast augmentation will present as a bulging area of skin (a bit like a squashed water balloon).
The more involved your surgery is (e.g. a breast lift as well as implants) the higher the chances of a seroma.
A seroma can develop shortly after surgery and if it occurs any later than this it's often caused by some other trauma, like doing too much too soon!
The advice you’re given after surgery not to go full on in to daily activities and exercise isn’t just because you’ll be feeling drained. Exercise increases your heart rate and blood pressure, which lead to increased swelling.
Exercise also causes movement in your tissues, which also leads to more fluid production. So, go easy!
Following post-op advice is the best thing you can do to help prevent a seroma.
Prevention is always better than cure, so your plastic surgeon will minimize the chances of excess fluid following surgery by being as precise as possible, and by possibly using compression bandages/garments and/or drains.
A small seroma will will usually be naturally reabsorbed back in to your body. Your surgeon may ask you to attend further follow-up appointments to monitor it.
A larger seroma may require intervention by your plastic surgeon. The fluid is drained (called aspiration) using a needle. A needle so close to your implant can be quite a worrying thing so an ultrasound is usually used to help your surgeon guide the needle.
It's an easy procedure though and your plastic surgeon should be able to do it in their office.
If you have any concerns about swelling or even suspect seroma don't second guess it! Always consult with your surgeon.
The reason a seroma can be a problem (other than pain/discomfort) is that fluid hanging around in the surgical area is a breeding ground for bacteria. And you definitely don’t want an infection.
An untreated seroma after a breast augmentation can lead to capsular contracture (another possible breast implants complication). So, don’t be surprised if you have a seroma if you’re prescribed a further course of antibiotics.
By following your post-op instructions you can minimize your chances of surgical complications... and a trouble-free recovery is your first step to a long and happy relationship with your new breasts.