Following a lumpectomy and just prior to radiation I had fluid in the breast and 200cc were drained off and
another 100 cc two days later, the day I started radiation. I could feel and see the breast enlarge during the
7 weeks and knew the fluid was building but they didn't want to drain it because of possible infection.
After the booster doses of radiation I was quite enlarged and I had two more sessions of draining over the next
month or 2. They recommended a compression bra and I've worn a tight regular bra with extra pad for pressure but the fluid now is leaking into the bra and this month I'm getting a bloody fluid. Just a light red and very watery. the
fluid comes from the nipple and has no odor, there is no pain except from pressure when my arm might press on
the breast in bed or if I lay on that side. the incision is on the side of the arm. There is a VERY hard lump about the size of a golfball. The doctor assures me that is just the fluid buildup and it's the size of 2 eggs. When he drains it the lump diminishes somewhat but is still there and I don't know why, if it's the fluid, why the lump doesn't
go away when the breast is drained. Of course my question is what is going on, where is the fluid coming from so consitently and now what is the bloody drainage I sometimes get. I wear an old man's T-shirt to bed to catch the fluid if it leaks out of the bra and I sometimes have drenched the shirt on one side and other times it's spots here and there.
The fluid may continue to accumulate until the tissues "stick" and the void is filled or no longer there from the lumpectomy. Radiation does indeed interfere with the healing process. Perhaps time should have been allowed for complete healing to take place before Radiation was begun. You might consider a second opinion from another Surgeon to see if there might be another solution to this most aggravating problem. It might be time to insert a permanent drain for a week or so to keep the area free of drainage and give the tissues a chance to "stick" together and thereby fill the void where the fluid is accumulating constantly. Regards .....
Wow.. you've had a rough time with this! I am so sorry this is happening to you.
I had a "one egg" size area that was filled with fluid removed about 9 months after radiation ended at the time of reconstruction and my pocket was almost under my right arm. It hurt when the doctors pressed on it but they kept telling me it was scar tissue. Ended up it wasn't so I was lucky to get mine removed.
I agree with japdip about seeking another surgeon to ask questions of.
Thank you for your good suggestions. I asked about a drain and they thought it might
cause infection so didn't want to do that. I have asked several times if the radiation caused it but they tell me not and say it's the effect of the surgery so hearing you explain it a little clearer gives me a better understanding. They assure me it'll eventually turn gelatinous and be absorbed by the body. But meantime I realize now it's still healing. I appreciate your comments!!!
Hi, Sue, thank you for your great response also. I had read online somewhere that fluid CAN cause it's own scar tissue as your doctors suggested, even though it's hard to picture that, but my doctors say no to that. For a long time I naturally thought this egg sized lump WAS scar tissue caused by the radiation . I didn't realize there was fluid in the hard area because the breast was swollen also and the dr. had drained fluid and when they'd drain it the breast went down but the hard lump was still there!
I believed the radiation had to have caused the hard lump and when they told me it wasn't scar tisue, it was fluid caused by surgery, I thought they had to be wrong. But the other day the doctor explained that there are pockets or sections (I forget the word he used 'cells' maybe) in the breast that each are holding fluid in that area making it hard, and so when he drains it he's just draining one section where he inserts the needle and the breast gets smaller. We'd have to drain every section separately he said to get the hardness all removed at once and he doesn't want to do that in case of infection, and I don't either as it's painful. And also he said it could cause a little bleeding. He did say the bleeding was probably caused by me doing something that might have stretched or torn something inside the breast causing it to bleed a bit. It's not much at all now. I think that's stopped.
(I try not to go where I try to figure out the ins and outs of the pockets (literally) and how healing takes effect in the pockets filled with fluid etc). I'll hang onto the thought that japdip gave about the healing (of the breast in general), and what the dr. said about the fluid thickening and turning gelatinous and being absorbed.
I hope I've worded this where it's understandable. It's a confusing topic. I do appreciate your response and glad you had a good outcome with your fluid filled area!!
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