If you have undergone surgery for hernia repair and surgical repair mesh was used in your procedure, you can file a personal injury lawsuit if that mesh caused a seroma to occur.
A seroma is a collection of fluid, called serum, that builds up under the surface of the skin. They can develop where surgical incisions were made in the body or where bodily tissue was removed. These commonly occur after a significant surgical procedure such as a hernia repair and can be the result of defective hernia mesh.
Seromas can occur in any patient after a medical procedure, and improper medical care may be the cause. If you developed a seroma after a medical procedure involving hernia mesh, our personal injury attorneys are here to answer your questions, such as:
- 1. What causes a seroma?
- 2. Who is most at risk?
- 3. How do I identify a seroma?
- 4. What are the complications?
- 4.1 What are the symptoms?
- 5. When should I get treatment?
- 6. How are seromas treated?
- 6.1 Treatment for Pain
- 6.2 Treatment for Recurring Seromas
- 7. How do I prevent them?
- 7.1 What are compression garments?
- 8. How can hernia mesh cause seromas?
- 9. When should I talk to a medical malpractice lawyer?
1. What causes a seroma?
A seroma is typically caused by a surgical procedure such as the addition of mesh to cure a hernia. Seromas typically appear after extensive surgeries rather than minor ones, especially when a significant amount of tissue has been removed.
This injury typically begins to appear seven to ten days after surgery, and after drainage tubes have been removed. Our bodies naturally sense where damage has occurred and fills those areas with clear fluid. 1
2. Who is most at risk?
Patients who have undergone serious surgeries such as hernia repair with mesh are most at risk for developing seromas, but other factors matter as well These other factors are
- Amount of removed tissue
- Previous surgeries
- Use of certain drugs such as heparin or tamoxifen
- Patient history of seromas after surgery.
3. How do identify a seroma?
A seroma will look like a swollen lump under your skin. It will often be sore or tender when touched and is full of fluid. This fluid is typically clear or may be slightly yellowish in appearance.
If the area has become infected, the discharge may change color, become bloody, or develop an odor.
4. What are the complications?
Complications arising from seromas can vary but are especially an issue when the fluid under the skin becomes infected. In many cases, infection can then cause an abscess.
Abscesses, also called boils, are bumps which appear below the surface of the skin. They are usually the result of a bacterial infection and can be filled with pus. Infections can be serious and lead to lasting damage to your skin and overall health. 2
4.1 What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of a seroma include:
- high fever and chills
- changes in blood pressure
- rapid heart rate
- rapid breathing
- infection of the surgical site
- pus in or leaking from skin.
While these are not the only symptoms, these common symptoms can range from minor to severe. 3
5. When should I get treatment?
Serious and long-term problems can result from seromas caused by hernia mesh surgery. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency medical treatment immediately.
- Increase in redness around the seroma
- A fever which is higher than 100.4° F (38° C)
- A rapid increase in swelling under the skin
- Increase in pain
- Rapid heart rate
- Very bloody or white drainage from the site
If the site of the surgery opens up as a result of any of these symptoms, you should seek emergency medical attention.
6. How are seromas treated?
Small or minor seromas often do not require medical treatment, and the body can naturally absorb the fluid buildup over the course of a few weeks or months. Larger affected areas may require draining of the area through surgical puncturing and drainage with a syringe.
6.1 Treatment for Pain
If symptoms appear, a physician may prescribe medication to deal with your pain. Pain can result from skin swelling, burst blisters, or infection. Treatment may include the use of ibuprofen (Advil) for both pain and to help reduce fever or swelling. Stronger pain medication may be appropriate in certain cases.
6.2 Treatment for Recurring Seromas
Sometimes seromas may occur several times, often in the same area. If this is the case, your doctor may remove it entirely with a minor medical procedure.
7. How do I prevent them?
Most doctors use some form of a drainage system to prevent seromas from developing. These help to prevent the build-up of fluid by allowing that fluid to drain away for a certain period of time.
Before your hernia mesh procedure, you should discuss with your doctor how likely it is that you will develop seromas and what you can do to prevent it. Sometimes, doctors fail to use drainage when they should or fail to do so properly, causing infection and other complications.
7.1 What are compression garments?
Compression garments are medical devices which reduce swelling and bruising after a surgery. These devices compress the surgical areas in order to help prevent the excess build-up of fluid.
8. How can hernia mesh cause seromas?
The use of hernia mesh to repair a hernia can be an extensive procedure that requires cutting into the bodily tissue, which can lead to fluid build up. The larger the area of repair and the larger the hernia mesh used, the higher the risk for seromas and their associated complications.
If physicians use the mesh only technique, a technique that requires more extensive dissection of your body’s tissue, there is an even greater likelihood of seroma formation. 4 Hernia mesh is often defective, and defective mesh can cause further complications to your health.
9. When should I talk to a medical malpractice lawyer?
If you have suffered from seromas after your hernia surgery when hernia mesh was used, this may be the result of physician or other medical professional negligence. If you were harmed as a result of that negligence, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Injured by a defective medical device or medical malpractice?
If you or someone you know has been harmed by a doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider’s negligence or by a defective medical product, contact our personal injury lawyers today for a free consultation. Call us or fill out our online contact form on this page.
1. Healthline. Seroma: Causes, Treatment, and More
2. E Medicine Health. Abscess
3. Healthgrades. Seroma
4. Journal of the Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons. A Minimally Invasive Approach for Treating Postoperative Seromas After Incisional Hernia Repair.