Breast Cancer Expert Forum
Breast lump after surgery
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Questions posted in the Breast Cancer Forum are answered by medical professionals and experts. Topics include Breast Biopsy, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Lumps, Lumpectomy, Lymph node dissection, Lymphedema, Mammograms, Mastectomy, Radiation Therapy, Reconstruction, Self Breast Exam, and Surgery.

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Breast lump after surgery

Two and a half weeks ago I had a bilateral mastectomy with a breast expander inserted. I have tightening and a sharp pain in the lower portion of my breast upon rising from a lying position and when leaning over. I also have a large lump on the side of my breast that was surgically removed that my plastic surgeon says is fluid and is not an infection.  My breast surgeon removed my surgical drain five days after my mastectomy and this lump grew large and painful a few days later. The plastic surgeon manually drained it and said that everything should be alright. Well, that was five days ago and the lump has reappeared along with the pain. I have been taking tylenol with codine since my surgery. It helps alittle. I don't know if I'm causing this to happen. I do the arm excerises twice a day, sleep nearly sitting up and I cut down on my salt intake. No one told me to do these things, I just thought they would help. I don't know if this is a lymphedema because no one told me this but I'm quessing it is. According to my breast surgeon I should be ready to return to work tomorrow and I am afraid to because I don't know what is wrong, I'm still in pain and I can't get any answers from him until he come back from his vacation next week. I will need to have this lump drained again but wonder how long will I have to have this done and should I be concerned.  Do you have any suggestions or are there any questions I should ask my doctors?
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Avatar_n_tn
Dear webstirdrum44:  It is not uncommon for fluid to collect under the skin after breast surgery. This is not lymphedema. Over time, this will reabsorb.  If the pain is not tolerable, the fluid can be drained but it may reaccumulate. It could take weeks for this to resolve.
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi - this forum is not answered at weekends. Your swelling could be a seroma - I had this after axillary clearance and it lasted nearly 4 weeks. I had to go to the hospital to have it drained every 2 or 3 days. It will clear up in time, but the only way to get rid of the pain is to have it drained.
Hope this helps - isn't there another surgeon or breast care nurse you can see? Sometimes my surgeon did it, others my breast nurse.
Liz.
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Avatar_n_tn
such a swelling is not rare, and is not lymphedema. Lymphedema is swelling within tissues and with breast surgery generally refers to a swollen arm. This is serum; a seroma, as was mentioned above. It happens fairly commonly. It goes away eventually but may have to be drained several times before it does. How often depends partly on discomfort. Last resort is to insert another drain into the area, but with implants in place it's desireable not to, to reduce the risk of infection. The good news is it's not something to worry about , and it will go away. The bad news is it's hard to predict; it could be days or weeks.
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Avatar_f_tn
A related discussion, breast keeps filling up with blood-drained twice was started.
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