after mastectomy

I had my mastectomy 10 days ago and am worried about the fluid retention and the fact that I still have a lot of pain - don’t think there is an infection though. What is normal - I find it too uncomfortable to wear a bra. Its not the flat that looks odd but the boob side. I’d like to hear from others who have gone through this already.

I’m Mx day 12 and the “small seroma” (that has been checked by surgeon) is causing me extreme sensitivity.

Any type of clothing is chafing my chest wall/seroma and my nerve-damaged upper arm. It’s like a 100 wasp stings and I’m sick of it.
I’ve lined my top half with a soft cotton camisole under my support vest (can’t stand a bra cos the base strap rubs on my drain scabs).


I had an MX in July. I wasn’t prepared for the feeling afterwards either, as the nerves knit together it felt as if a cheesegrater was being taken to my arm and underneath my arm. I think that’s normal, other women said the same thing on this site, and so is a bit of fluid retention. But I developed a seroma under my arm and one in my breast - I had a tissue expander implanted at the time of the MX, and this eventually became infected two weeks after the MX. I’ve since had lots of problems with seromas and the impant was being rejected by my body and it was removed last week.

I couldn’t wear a bra at all but then I was having problems, I think it varies from woman to woman how sore you are afterwards. But I found gentle stroking of the area over my clothes did help the horrid extreme pins and needles feeling. If the seroma becomes really uncomfortable they’ll drain it. But they’re reluctant to drain them if they’re around an implant because they’re worried about introducing infection.

THe things to watch out for are redness around the breast, or under your arm. And if you have a thermometer take your temperature if you think you start feeling unwell. If you think you’ve got an infection then ring the clinic, it can get quite serious.

Alison x

i also had mx 10 days ago, i’m still pretty uncomfortable, numbness, tingy felings, tightness & i feel puffy. i thought now the pain would be getting better, but discussed with my bcn yesterday and she said it can feel worse at this time due to the feeling coming back, she warned me that may experience sharp nerve pains across the breast area (and not to panic, not heart attack!!)
i can put on a bra, but its the oldest most saggy tatty thing which somehow escaped the bin before! and one i would have been ashamed to have shown this time last month!!
it will get better (it has too)

Thanks is, the pain from the 12 inch scar itself is now gone and I thought that I’d be feeling SO much better when it went.

Gawd preserve me from the 100 wasp stings!!

Its a week since my mastectomy and lymph node biopsy.I took my dressing off this morning and removed the steristrips as told to in the shower.My scar near the chestbone looks like gathered curtains!! Although its still quite tender and there is a small collection of fluid underneath my armptit feels numb. I have pain like a burn when you catch yourself on the iron/oven( I am known to be clumsy)all over the skin by my collarbone, doesn’t look red or any different just really painful to touch. Any ideas what it is or how to solve it???

Hi all
I am posting a link to the BCC publication ‘Your operation and recovery’ which may help:

Take care

Hi all,

had my Mx with lymph node clearance on the 12th of September, I had extreme bruising both on my arm all the way down to my elbow, and on the scar site, this is finally clearing but I know what your talking about the cheese grater feeling it goes all the way up my arm, so is that because the nerves are knitting back together? I presume its a healthy sign of healing.

How is everyone coping with the exercises? I still cannot get my arm above my head and really need to as they want to do radio therapy on me and apparently I need to be able to lift my arm above my head.

Feeling really down today, dont really know why, maybe its the tamoxifen or maybe its the surgery but feel low and down in the dumps today.

Sending everyone love, light and healing vibes
Sarahlousie xxx

Hi everyone,
I feel so much better hearing that it is all normal. Mx the 3rd op in as many months and thought it would be the same as the others - silly me. Got a sports bra on today which supports the fluid as well as other boob. Delayed reconstruction - needed time to think and surgeon said it would delay things. Had pain in my nipple the other day which isn’t there - really funny feeling. Not going back to hospital until 25th for results and what is next. Feel like a life in limbo.
Love and best wishes to all
Flowerpower x

I am 7 months out of a mastectomy and still have pain in the arm, back, chest…taking nortriptyline for it but still there…can become post mastectomy pain syndrome so best to get the pain dealt with right away before your brain goes and makes it chronic. I did read somewhere that it can take up to two years for healing these nerves, but some people I read, always have them…scares me quite a bit. To help with that cheese-grater feeling, I put on a anti-chafing gel (kind of like silicone gel)…really helps. Exercise helps too, even though it’s painful. I have full use of my arm, btw, but if you don’t do the exercises you can end up with frozen shoulder and MORE pain. Mastectomy alone doesn’t seem to be the problem but the auxillary node surgery. Up to 50% of women get this pain but it plummets to 11% if they only have and need a sentinel node biopsy. Rads can also contribute, but mostly it’s the nodes…I don’t give up hope because some women’s “numbness” even goes away after a few years and then, they might come up with better therapies for nerve damage. I wished I had been informed about this when given the choice; I would have still gone for the mastectomy BUT would have seen a breast surgeon who knew how to do sentinel lymph node biopsies.