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I have a Seroma about 6 inches long after decompression surgery on my back.

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,899
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:23 AM in Back Surgery and Neck Surgery
I was in a auto accident this august and had to have decompression surgery of L3-S1. After I came home I had swelling that ran the whole length of my surgical scar. I went back to the Surgeon and they told me I have a seroma. It has been drained/asperated 2 times and is back once again. I was told today that my bone is looking like it may be infected and that the seroma may have become an abcess. I had a contrast Mri.

I can not sit or lie on my back and I am in constant pain. It is only getting worse. My surgeon does not seem to be too concerned about this. Has anyone else gone through this and does it get better.

I am retaining fluids and am concerned.

I appreciate any advice you could give.

Thanks.......

BackAche in Cali....
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Comments

  • j.howiejj.howie Brentwood, Ca., USAPosts: 1,728
    I've never heard of this but I'm sure someone will chime in with some help. We live at the end of the time zone. So be patient.
    Good luck, Jim
    Click my name to see my Medical history
    You get what you get, not what you deserve......I stole that from Susan (rip)
    Today is yours to embrace........ for tomorrow, who knows what might be starring you in the face!
  • Hi CaliWill, good to see another West Coast Spiney on board. I have heard of your problem several times while reading this board. The one that I recall is G's story. I'll go bump it up so it'll be easier to find. Good-luck, I hope you find out what is causing it so you can start getting better soon. Good-luck, Cali-Sue
  • I've never experienced anything like that. Only problem I've ever had with a surgical incision is my skin growing over the stitches, but it wasn't a big deal.

    I live by the quote "better safe than sorry." You have absolutely nothing to lose by going to the E.R. or calling another doctor for a second opinion. It is much better to do more than needed, than less.

    I hope it's nothing major and you get well very soon!
  • Hey, it's G. I had a seroma... had it drained and they cultured it. did they culture yours? when mine was cultured, they found a staph infection (MRSA-HA). they SHOULD MOST DEFINITELY culture it ASAP to rule out a staph infection.

    you can read more under "Post-Op infection- G's story".

    my guess is at this point they should reopen your incision and clean it out. It sucks, but it beats an infection eating you up on the inside.

    so sorry you're dealing with this. PLEASE make sure it's cultured.
  • I am not sure what Seroma is, but I did lose 2 vertabrae to osteomyelitis which is bone infection. Initial treatment involves IV antibiotics in the hospital to try and get it cleared up. In my case, by the time it was discovered it was too late to save the bone. I had to have surgery to remove the bone and 3 discs. I will also be on IV antibiotics for a total of 9 weeks. I would definitely get a second opinion ASAP since I can't believe a doctor wouldn't be concerned if he thinks the infection is in the bone.
  • Hi,
    I do have a seroma and am going through the same thing you are going through. I have had my fusion removed in Feb. 19, 2010 and one month later my back started to drain from the bottom of the incision. It drain a bloody fluid for about 5 days and they did a culture which showed staph infection. They did surgery and cultured it again and cleaned it out. It was attacking my muscle, it look like a soupy-hamberger look to it. Now its 6 weeks later and they say now I have a seroma. They drained some fluid out and cultured it and it showed nothing. But it is still painful and swelling. So today the doctor is in and I am just going to drop by to see what I need to be doing to get this matter taken care of. I will let you know of my progress so you can do the same. But you really need to get it cultured.
  • The other posts on here are very old (September 2008).
    Hopefully they are all well again! @)

    I hope that you were successful with your trip to the doctor today, and that your seroma will soon be gone.
  • So what happened? How did you get it fixed?
  • 3 weeks after my laminectomy I spiked a high temp. Is been doing really well, and the symptoms with the fever we really not primarily related to the surgery, though my pain had increased. All rushed to rule to infection at the surgical site and the contrast mri showed nothing remarkable except for a slight fluid build up which my surgeon said was normal for where I was in my course of recovery. A week later as I washed my hands at the sink I felt warm liquid run down between my buns. We talked to the Dr on call who looked at the mri and said there was about 40cc's of extra fluid around my incision. I saw my surgeon this week in followup and he said I may have had a seroma. Serous fluid is normal and healthy, playing mind reader here, my guess is most surgeons don't worry about them because a.they didn't cause them, b.they can't prevent them, and c. Seromas do not indicate infection. They can become infected by contamination during draining or if in contact with other infection. All in all, painful seromas are often pressing against nerves. So there is some risk in draining them. And there can be a lot of pain till the fluid is reabsorbed. Personally, I hope your primary care doc is compassionate enough to help you with the pain management part. If not, try urgent care, then ER. Your surgeon's nurse may do a better job of hearing you need help getting through this time than your surgeon did. A culture of discharge is not invasive, an aspiration to get a culture is. If you have no fever, or fluish feeling, be conservative. I really sympathize with you and others who've suffered with this pain. As you look toward resolution, remember, your surgery was successful, and this is temporary.
  • SavageSavage United StatesPosts: 5,233
    Welcome to Spine-Health
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    Sue
    Spine-Health Moderator
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    Please read my medical history at: Medical History

  • not to rain on anyone's parade here, but there is no way to tell from looking at an MRI if it is a serum or an infected abscess. All they can see if fluid collection. It looks the same. Surgeons, bless their ever loving hearts, will ALWAYS call it a seroma until they have a culture proof that it is infected. And they won't know unless they take a culture. So if you are running a fever, and not feeling well.... it probably isn't a normal post op change. I know this because I am an infection preventionist. My entire career is dedicated to investigating surgical site infections in the Orthopedic and Neurological population. (quite ironic to me that I now need major spine surgery.)
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