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Seroma in Children: Care Instructions


After a surgery, fluid can collect under the skin near the cut the doctor made (incision). This soft, puffy area is called a seroma. It can be tender to touch. The incision may even have opened up.

Some seromas get better on their own. But when there is a lot of fluid under the skin, a seroma is drained to help the area heal.

If your child's incision has opened up, it may either be packed with gauze or left open to heal. To prevent infection, make sure to help your child keep the area clean and take all medicines as prescribed.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Follow your doctor's instructions for seroma care. If your child has a drain tube, your doctor will tell you how to take care of it.
  • Look at your child's incision every day. Keep the area clean and dry.
  • Do not allow your child to bathe unless you can keep the incision dry. Start with sponge baths. Ask your doctor when it is safe for your child to shower.
  • Do not scrub or rub the incision. And avoid clothing that rubs it.
  • Leave any tape strips (such as Steri-Strips) on the incision. They will fall off on their own, or your doctor may tell you when to take them off.
  • Do not put lotion or powder on incisions.
  • Keep the incision out of direct sunlight.
  • Be safe with medicines. Read and follow all instructions on the label.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • Your doctor may give you specific instructions on when your child can do normal activities again, such as sports and going back to school.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing. Symptoms may include:
    • Using the belly muscles to breathe.
    • The chest sinking in or the nostrils flaring when your child struggles to breathe.

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has symptoms of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision or a yellow or green discharge that is increasing.
    • A fever.
  • Your child bleeds through a bandage.
  • The incision opens up.

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • The incision is not healing as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.