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Fluid in Breast ?
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Fluid in Breast ?

Had surgical biopsy 4 weeks ago (fibroadenoma). Overall it is healing well though still a bit sensitive.  There does seem to be an accumulation of "fluid" in my breast and I'm wondering what this is and how long it should be before this is a concern.  

It's doesn't seem to be blood (there's no bruising or discoloration -- if anything the area is "whiter" than the surrounding area).  My incision is on the side of my left breast (about 2:00) going from under my arm to about half way to the nipple.  There is an obvious raised area or whelt below the incision/scar toward the bottom of the breast that seems more noticable later in the day when I've been up and less noticable in the morning after the night laying down. It is firmer than the surrounding area but not sore or anything.  I would have thought that this would have been absorbed by now. Is this common?  What would it be?

Thanks for the site and your time answering our questions.

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Avatar_n_tn
Dear SnowWoman: It is not unusual for fluid to accumulate in breast tissue.  It will eventually reabsorb but it could take a long time.  Regardless, you should mention this to your doctor.  If it causes you problems, it could be drained.
14 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
it might not be fluid, either: most incisions -- breast or elsewhere -- get hard and lumpy as they heal, and it can take a few weeks to go away. In the absense of infection or other symptoms, most likely nothing would be done except to give it more time. The lumpiness in a breast operation site is why I wait about 3 months before getting a new baseline mammogram: it can take that long (sometimes more) to resolve.
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Avatar_n_tn
Yes, there is lumpiness/hardness around the incision and into the breast in that area which I assumed was scar tissue.  But this is below the surgery area and is not really lumpy. There is a raised area (which sort of comes and goes) but it's not like a defined lump or hardness when I press on it -- more like fluid that moves around when pressure is applied.  The last few days there has been a "tightness" and kind of tingling in the breast but I assume that's just the healing process.  I'm not really concerned at this point, just more curious.

The surgeon had originally said to redo mammo in 3 months but after surgery said to wait 6 months to give it extra time to heal.
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Avatar_n_tn
What you describe could be fluid: I think the only way to be sure is to run it by your surgeon. If fluid, it most likely will eventually absorb on its own. Sometime it might get aspirated (meaning withdrawing it with a needle).
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi,
You could be telling My story. I had a large lumpectomy in early February for microcalcifications and am still feeling fluid around my incision. I had a large goose egg lump right under my incision but that has finally begun to go down. The left side of my incision is still numb...did you experience that too?
I saw my family Dr who examined my breast and said it was all normal and it could take months to a year to completely heal. I am having a mammo tomorrow and am not looking forward to it. I have alot of shooting pain in my breast and can just imagine what that pressure from the mammo will feel like.
Anyway I just wanted to share my experience of the lumpectomy. Hope you heal fast and continue with good health.

Bet
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Avatar_n_tn
Overall the healing has been good -- much better than my previous experience 20+ years ago. There is some numbness around the incision but since my other incision is still somewhat numb all these years later, I had expected that and assume it may not totally go away. My pains seem to come and go. I have a couple of good days and then a few where it's really "tight" feeling and bothersome clear across my breast.  Probably I've done something to irritate it.

Good luck with your mammo. I couldn't imagine having another one at this point and was kinda glad when the surgeon postponed my follow up mammo to six months rather than three.  Hope everything looks good.

Janet
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks for sharing your healing experience. I had 2 previous lumpectomies about 12 years ago on my other breast (outer portion as opposed to the 12 o'clock position of this one) and don't recall ecperiencing this pain or numbness.
I had my mammo today and it wasn't as painful as I thought it might be but it did hurt some. They were very kind and kept asking if I was ok. Apparently my clustered microcalcifacations are Still There and were not removed by lumpectomy. There was some question by the pathologist who examined my tissue but my surgeon was positive he had gotten them in the hook of the needle/wire locaion he did. I see him next week....really wondering where I go from here. It's like starting from scratch except now I have alot less breast tissue and scar tissue over the area of microcalc's. I was really hoping my surgery was the end of this nightmare.
Thanks again for sharing. Take care.

Bet
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Avatar_n_tn
Wow, sounds like the nightmare that all of us hope not to have.  I see they did your needle loc by mammo.  One thing the radiologist did on mine was to put a drop of dye through the needle before placing the wire so that if the wire moved they could tell.  Did they do anything like that for you?  This must be really discouraging for you.  Did they see anything at all when doing the pathology?  Could they tell how close the biopsy was to the microcalcifications?  I guess nothing is 100% but what a bummer to have to go through this.

In my case, there is some concern whether the spot they saw on the mammo was the same as what they saw on the ultrasound.  Since they could only get one good view on the mammo they did the needle loc by ultrasound.  They did another mammo after but since they couldn't tell enough to do the needle loc I wonder whether they could really tell if the wire was at the right spot.

Hopefully the surgeon will have some encouragement for you.  Let us know.

Janet
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Janet,

Thanks for the encouragement. When the surgeon did the needle loc. there was no dye. He said it was the best one he'd ever done. I saw the mammo after the wire was placed and it looked like it was hooked around the cluster. I'm thinking now maybe he didn't go deep enough. He removed 5cm X 7cm X 2cm twice. He had to go back in after the first bunch of tissue was exrayed and no microcalcs were found. My pathology showed fibrocystic changes and apocrine metaplasia.
I never had an ultrasound, apparently microcalcs can't be seen on u.s. and there is no palpable lump there.
This whole experience is very frustrating and now twice as scary for me. My mother had BC at age 41 and was gone before she turned 45. I'm trying to be positive but its easier said than done! This forum is great though and is very helpful and comforting. Thanks again for your kind words and I will let you know what the surgeon has to say on friday.

Bet
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Avatar_f_tn
Well I saw the surgeon on Friday and I'll be back in the OR for another shot at getting the cluster microcalc's. He showed me the mammo's and there is still the original cluster and a new smaller cluster and a few scattered single microcalcifications. I am frustrated and worried to say the least. My dilemma at this point (beyond another surgery) is whether or not to tell my family (especially my 3 young men) that they didn't get the cluster the first time. I don't want to put them through the stress of worrying again. It was hard enough the first time, but at the same time I think they would want to know. My grandmother(84) had a mastectomy almost a year ago and was really upset thinking I may have BC also. Any thoughts or advise would be greatly appreciated. I haven't scheduled the surgery yet although it would probably be in about 2 weeks.
Thanks for the support. It is greatly appreciated.
Taking one moment at a time.
Bet
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Avatar_n_tn
Bet,

Guess the 2nd surgery was anticipated given the mammography.  Sorry to hear you have to go through this again.  Did you talk to the surgeon about how he would ensure he got the "right" thing this time?  Most of what I have read says they often x-ray the tissue after removal to see that they got the suspicous area.  Obviously they didn't do this last time for you.  Do they think that some of the new microcalcifications are from the trauma of the previous surgery?

The support you get from your family may be an important part or your maintaining your sanity through this.  How old are your "3 young men"?  If they're not too young, I'd tell them -- if they're a bit older, they would probably be hurt that you went through this without their support.  As far as your grandmother, that's a tough one.  When I was having my mammos and ultrasounds my Mom was fighting lymphoma.  I chose not to tell her as she had enough to deal with.  She died before the decision was made to do surgery so that became a non-issue.

Keep in touch and know we're all sending good thoughts your way.

Janet
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Janet,

Thanks for your advise on whether or not to tell my family. My young men are 19, 17 and almost 16. My oldest had a tough time last time (he remembers his Grandma dying from BC). I think I will problably tell them closer to the surgery date (June 2nd) so they aren't thinking the worst for 2 weeks unecessarily. They live with their dad in Canada so I can "hide" it till I'm ready. The same with my grandma....she will be more upset that I didnt say anything at all than dealing with this surgery again. I really appreciate your input.

I'm sorry to hear that your mom passed away during an already difficult time for you.  My heart goes out to you Janet. I know what its like to lose your mom.

The surgeon said that he will do the needle location from a different angle this time. Last time he went straight down. He thinks the needle may have moved. He said this time he would anchor the needle. Its a difficult area to get at. Its in the upper portion very close to the muscle that goes to the armpit. I know they xrayed the biopsy tissue last time and found no microcalc's which is why he opened me up again and got more tissue. Apparently there were a couple of microcalc's in the second one. He didn't say whether or not the new ones were due to the first surgery. He seemed surprised that I noticed them while looking at the mammo's. I am trying to be positive that it will be all removed this time. (I don't think my  husband could stand watching me go through another surgery!)

Thanks so much for the good thoughts. It means alot to me. Take care and I will keep you posted.

Bet
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Avatar_n_tn
Sounds like a good plan.  I'll mark June 2 on my calendar to be sending good thoughts your way.  It seems the toughest part is all the waiting -- once you know what's there you can deal with it and move forward.  Just keep in mind that even if it should be cancer the odds are still in your favor.  

Janet
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Avatar_f_tn
Hi Janet
You're right about the waiting part. It was hard enough the first time, especially waiting for that path report. The first time I was sure it was going to turn out to be cancer and had geared myself to that end. You're right though, once I know what it is I can deal with it (although I really hope this will be the end of it)
The odd thing is that I'm more concerned about my family having to deal with all this than I am about myself. I know that no matter what happens I will get through it and come out on top. I'm only 39 (well close enough to call it 40), I'm strong and healthy and ready to do battle is necessary. The support from the friends I have told is tremendous.
I'll be holding on to your good thought on the 2nd as well. Thanks again for listening to me ramble here. If you want to email me my address is bets_here***@****.

Bet
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