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How many of you ended up with a seroma?

2Floridiansisters's picture
Posts: 382
Joined: May 2010

And what did you do about it? Did you get it drained? If I go and get it drained by my surgeon will it help with the pain in my breast? Please say it will cause I'm thinking maybe I should try and get in to see him. Or heck maybe I could go to the er at the navy hospital tonight. hmmmmmmmmm

If they go away on their own how long does it take?

KayNYC's picture
Posts: 495
Joined: Mar 2010

Yes, I ended up with a seroma secondary to my Lumpectomy with sentinal node excision (six nodes all negative).It was drained about four or five times by either my surgeon or the NP. When it filled up, it was painful but over the course of about 5-6 weeks, it slowly decreased in size and discomfort.
It was the worse part of the surgery experience until I developed lymphedema later. I don't know if the lymphedema can be related directly to the seroma or to the draining procedures.I was thankful that I did not get an infection and require drains.
Wishing you a quicker resolution of this post operative problem.
Hugs, K

2Floridiansisters's picture
Posts: 382
Joined: May 2010

I think now since you reminded me about it maybe I'll not get it drained. You may have gotten it from the draining needles. If it isn't one thing it's something else, doesn't this cancer stink. I'm sorry you ended up with lymphedema. I know I don't want it so maybe I'll just try and wait it out. Thank you Kay

aisling8's picture
Posts: 1618
Joined: Feb 2010

end up with a seroma. It was uncomfortable. Not painful. And just, well, weird looking. It was drained, I think, three times. Didn't hurt to have that done. They tried binding me with an Ace bandage, but that's pretty hard to keep up there under your arm so it didn't work. It finally went away with antibiotics because the third time she drained it, blood came out and now it was a hematoma. Cleared up. No lyphedema.

Good luck to you,

2Floridiansisters's picture
Posts: 382
Joined: May 2010

Your story sounds a bit comforting, I don't know if my boob aches from just being so big busted and having the 2 incisions or is it from the big lump I have. And that's how I see it too, it's a big tender lump.

KayNYC's picture
Posts: 495
Joined: Mar 2010

At the time, the draining did relieve my discomfort but I don't know for sure if it was a factor in the development of the lymphedema or not. I am thankful that my LE is very mild and after having physical therapy and being taught to do the Manual drainage massage and wearing the sleeve, things are in excellent control.With the cooler weather, I have gone without the sleeve and glove with no ill effects. If I am carrying packages, using the computer for hours or working out, I wear the sleeve. It is really only a minor inconvenience so I am not complaining.It could be much worse.
Hope your seroma resolves soon.

carkris's picture
Posts: 4554
Joined: Aug 2009

I had seroma, and it was drained, then they were going to put another drain in, and I begged him not to, and it was wrapped with an ace and it worked. but this went on for a few weeks, and it was frustrating. Try to limit your movement, anytime there is a Pocket it fills with fluid, so try to not make twisting motions so it will tack down. My PS didnt want me to reach up with that arm either I do not have lymphedema. hope this gets better.

carriesoup's picture
Posts: 144
Joined: Sep 2010

i got one after my first lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy. it actually burst on it's own, from one little scabbed over spot in my incision. it was really creepy, getting in the shower (so glad it happened there!) i know it sounds gross, but i actually milked out all the fluid and then called my surgeon. they told me it wasn't a big deal, and that my breast would feel better now. it drained for the next few days. i actually cut up pieces of maxi pads and put it in my bra to catch the discharge. luckily, my second surgery was only 3 days later. they fixed it then.

good luck!

carrie :)

crselby's picture
Posts: 438
Joined: Oct 2009

I, too, had fluid in my lumpectomy cavity. It made sloshing sounds when I walked. Pretty freaky when I figured out that sound was coming from ME! Grossed out my husband. Big breasts + large cavity = fluid- filled space. It did not hurt at that time

Four weeks after surgery I was having the catheters inserted in my breast for interstitial multi-catheter (45 of those suckers!) brachytherapy radiation. I was all bundled up on the surgical table, the doc numbs my poor boob, then starts to insert the 18 inch needles. From behind the drape I hear him make surprised noises and see the nurse scramble for some gauze and then towels. Apparently that needle punctured through the cavity wall, as it is supposed to, and released the seroma fluid! Got all over his pants. So the two of them proceeded to press on my breast to drain it. Then, nine days later when the nurse pulled out the catheters.there was even more drainage. I'm just a water well, apparently.

Here it is more than a year later and my mammos and ultrasounds still show fluid in a slightly smaller cavity. I get achy- ness in that area about every other day. It feels better if it's massaged.

Kimosabe's picture
Posts: 43
Joined: Jun 2010

Yes, I did have a seroma and had it drained. No problems. Good luck!

Posts: 4
Joined: Oct 2010

I had a HUGE one under my arm (where the incision was from removing the lymph nodes) that would get extremely painful as it got larger - I literally couldn't put my arm down because it would get as big as a softball within days. I had it drained two to three times a week for quite a while, then twice a week, once a week, then stopped getting it drained when I had radiation because they were afraid it would change the measurements and screw up the radiation. My OT made a contraption with a long strip of velcro, a piece of foam wrapped in a stretchy sock material that I would wrap around myself and put the foam under my arm at night. It made a big difference and the seroma got a lot smaller! She worked on massaging it in OT, too. She felt like there was a lot of scar tissue in there (probably partially from all of the times I had it drained!) that might be blocking the lymph fluid and that might be contributing to the lymphedema.
I still have a small seroma a year and 8 months post surgery, but at least it doesn't seem to get bigger or hurt anymore and it isn't very noticeable at all. No one ever told me about seromas - what a learning experience!
Getting it drained definitely helps the pain/discomfort.
Good luck!

Posts: 21
Joined: Oct 2010

Of course that is an exageration. I had a large seroma develope after my lumpectomy. My surgeon drained it once, then we decides to let it absorb on it's own. It took almost a year to completely absorb. But it wasn't causing me pain. If I had had pain, I would have been more aggressive about doing something.
Good luck with yours.

Posts: 1
Joined: Oct 2017

Hi everyone!  I’m new to the site.  My dx was November 2014.  The lump left by the biopsy of the sentinel lymph node, under my left arm, never went away.  Over time it changed and appeared to become two all the while becoming more and more painful.  I showed my oncologist over a year ago who  said I had lymphedema.  My lack of understanding at the time, thought lymphedema to be nothing more then swelling.  Doc didnt seem concerned so I went on with life.  Last month one morning getting dressed, my bra was tight on the left and put pressure on the bump that was painful.  Within 4 days my left breast, cancer a d lumpectomy side, was red from my nipple up about Half way.  it had the appearance of an orange peal, with blue and red and purple tiny veins everywhere.  I called my oncologist and say her P.A.the next week.  I told her my oncologist had said I had lymphedema.  She showed me how to massage my arm and body.  She said begin with your fingers on the affected arm and massage lightly up, and showed my how to massage my body all towards my armpit.  She said to do it 3 times a day, everyday and that was about it.  They did my work too.  The P.A. Told me to be sure and not miss any appointments with my oncologist.  Unrealizing I had an appointment with her in a week and a half.  By the time I saw her some of the swelling had gone down and the redness was gone but you could still see signs of what had happened.  While examining my right side she looked up and said you have lymphedema!  i said there she said no on the left I can see it from here.  My nipple has changed colors, it is faded and crinkled in an odd way.  It doesn’t react to touch at all in the same way, and the smaller by nature, lumpectomy, left sid is still larger then the other.  She said she thought she felt a lymph node in my neck and began to order a scan and examined me again, couldn’t find it again she said and canceled the scan.  Asked me to come back in 6 months.  I attend a support group for survivors at the cancer center On Thursdays.  My oncologist office is upstairs. On the 16th of this month when I began doing the massage from my hand up under my arm the bottom part popped inside my body.  These were two, I thought, lumps the size of half a golf ball.  Getting ready for group the following Thursday, in the shower I discovered both of them gone leaving a large crevice under my arm.  I shared about it at group, and they had a fit Ant told me to get up to my oncologist office now.  I did, and the P.A. Saw me right away.  By the way I have lost 37pounds in the last 6 months, the last 12 in one month.  I have no appetite and having food in my mouth make me gage as well as brushing my teeth.  I can drink fine.  But I have no appetite.  She said the lumps could be from the lymphedema an d  asked her to send me to a specialist, and she did.  She also now has me scheduled for a, chest, stomach, and pelvis, M.R.I. with contrast on both ends. Next month, and has referred me to in internal specialist.  Everything I have researched points to cancer of some kind.  Do any of you know anything about this.  I would be so grateful.  Thanking you in advance.  Glama

Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

Sadly - many Drs (even those who deal with breast surgeries) are woefully not knowledgeable (uneducated) when it comes to LE (lymphedema).

Of course, I am no medical expert ( LymphEdema Therapist, RN, PA, NP or MD) but have been dealing with LE for 8 yrs.  

What you describe does not sound like LE but something is definately going on and it does need to be adequately investigated and the cause properly TXd - no matter the cause.

LE is lymphatic fluid that collects IN the cells that no longer have a fully functioning lymphatic system.  Lymph nodes are basically the 'pumping stations'  along the route.  When nodes are removed (or damaged by surgery or traumatic injury) their full ability to pump the fluid along it's route is compromised so the fluid builds up WITHIN the individual cells - not as fluid making a pocket/'lump'.   

This 7 yr old Thread was directed to Seroma issues which are indeed pockets of fluid that occur post surgery when a 'pocket' of fluid builds up in the surgery area if no drains are used or drain(s) taken out too soon.  This will be a 'pocket' (localized area) of fluid that can be drained via a needle or opening the area surgically.   LE is within the individual cells and can not be 'drained' via a needle or 'opening' the are surgically.   In other words - LE is a generalized swelling, not a localized swelling.  

If your Dr said a yr ago that your lump was LE, he/she should have referred you to an LET (LymphEdema Therapiist, an OT or PT WITH additional education reguarding LE and all the ramifications) for an evaluation, education and appropriate TX (if needed).   I am a firm believer that everyone having any breast surgery (not just for a cancer) should be sent to an LET presurgery or soon post surgery for an evaluation and education about LE (what it actually is, what to watch for, activities that might increase the posssibility, learning MLD/Mannual Lymphatic Drainage and more).   With LE, it is vitally important to be vigilant with keeping an 'eye on' any cuts/scrapes as without lymphatic flow infections can rapidly become a big issue.

I am one of the fortunate ones who had very knowledgeable Surgeon and Chemo Dr as both noticed the start of my LE (9 weeks post UMX - 6 weeks into 12 weekly adjuvant Taxol) before I did and quickly got me in to see my LET guy (FANTASTIC LET).  That was almost 8 yrs ago. 

Ask for a referral to an LET (LymphEdema Therapist) for an evaluation and EDUCATION for you!  Also follow up and find out what is going on (sooner rather than later) even if it takes seeing another oncologist for peace of mind that you are getting what you need to deal with the issues going on.  A Dermatologist might be an option as some of what you mentioned could be skin issues.

Bottom line is - you need to find out what is going on and gain more knowledge.

Winyan - The Power Within

ballerina06's picture
Posts: 57
Joined: Jun 2015

I did after tattoo nipple pigmentation after reconstruction. Had a bad infection in the hospital for 5 days on two iv antibiotics, once home stayed on antibiotics and prednisone 3 months. Had serous drained by PS pain went away some but developed capsular contracture and had to have bilateral implant exchange 

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