Drains and swelling

They took my last drain out on Saturday as it had been there for 10 days. Had mast and node clearance. Well I seem to be growing a lopsided breast!! Obviously this is fluid. Very worried about my scar! Should I call the BCN tomorrow to have it drained or leave it? Could it settle down? Making my chest feel very tight.
What would you do?

I think it’s called a Seroma

Some of us seem to make a lot of fluid…same happened to me even after having drains for 10 days.

Call the BCN for advice tomorrow, chances are it will settle down on its own, but if the swelling gets too large, tight or uncomfortable, they will drain it for you.

There is a slight risk of infection being introduced when it is drained. But I had it done several times from the underarm area with no problem.

I had to be drained 3 times after my mastectomy. It did eventually settle down although occasionally I do still get some fluid build up. The exercises help to disperse it though.

Hi Vanessa

I had a wide local excision, and lymph clearance, I had to go back and have fluid drained about 5 times!!! It was such a relief to get it drained. I am approx 3 months post opp, and have no further problems.

Good luck

Kim x

Off to hospital tomorrow to have it drained. Spoke to BCN earlier. Phew. Couldn’t fit it in today as I need to be here after school for my girls.
Thanks lades, cant say I’ll miss this little boobie!!

I had a mastectomy last week, 5 weeks after a wide local excision and axillary lymph node clearance. I have noticed more swelling developing around the armpit - front, back and below the scar at the side. It is getting to feel a bit tight. My drains fell out on day 1 post-op. The district nurse came to take out my sutures yesterday, and had no helpful comments (except to say the wound under the arm looked ‘a bit botched’ - which was positively unhelpful). My Breast Care Nurse said it will settle over a few weeks and it is only one week post-op. I am actually a nurse myself, yet this fact doesn’t seem to be of any help to me at the present time!

Well they got 150ml out on Tuesday and another 100ml on Thursday. My little boobie was a A cup I reckon… Hope everything starts absorbing better soon. Cant stand yoyoing back and forth to hosp.

Hi Vanessa

I had my drain out last Tuesday and already there is some swelling around the wound. I experienced this last time despite religiously doing the exercises.

I just hope it doesn’t turn into an infection as I want a full week away from the hospital.

I hope yours dies down soon so you can get some comfort back.


Hello all,

I managed to escape with only having to have two lots of seroma drained off, one lot was 30ml, second was only 10ml, and nothing since. However, I had to go against their advice and NOT wear the bra they wanted me to wear for 24/7 for the 6 weeks after my mast and recon, because it caused huge fluid build-up and made it feel like I had a tennis ball shoved up my under-arm! I’m sure that not wearing the bra hasn’t had any detrimental effect on my new boobie, but it has very definitely helped with not developing the dreaded seroma. I tried to use sports tops with no seams, and that helped support it but without creating fluid. The second I felt anything building up, whatever I was wearing came off pronto! Now nearly 8 weeks post op, and I’m able to wear bras without this problem - or much reduced prob, anyway.

We ended up in casulty the weekend after my discharge from hosp, so 12 days post op, because the fluid was so uncomfortable, and the breast surgeon who saw me agreed with me that if it hurts, it ain’t right, and that oedema increases the risk of infection, so I had been doing the right thing by listening to my body and trying to make myself as comfortable as poss. It has to be said though that I wasn’t doing anything more active than lying in bed for the most part though, it may be different if you’re up and at 'em faster than I’m managing to be!

Love and hugs,
Nikki / Angel

I woke up this morning to find my PJ’s soaked - wound had developed a little hole with a big leak. During the night I’d got up and thought the whole area around the wound felt very tight and painful, but wasn’t wet at that point. Leaked lots and lots after that, so rang the ward, who said go to A&E. They just gave me some dressings and told me to watch for signs of infection, and to phone BC nurse on Monday. Weren’t interested in removing any fluid from the other tight swollen areas under the arm pit, but did speak to an on-call surgeon. Has continued to leak rest of the day. The bumpy areas around the scar are now flatter in some areas, which is good. However, it is all getting tighter again now, so maybe fluid is building up again.

It’s horrible Helen isnt it. Only my BCN will drain it too. I’ve been ‘done’ twice now and will probably be down there tomorrow again! My doctor doesnt want to know so I travel 20 miles to the hospital. I think they’re all scared of infection.
Hang on in there Helen.
xx Vanessa

Thank you Vanessa
I have been in touch with my BCN this morning, and she is going to speak to the surgeon with a view to having me seen before my appointment on Thursday. The leakage has stopped, but am now definitely feeling much tighter everywhere around the wound and armpit!
It is a pain having to travel to the hospital - my gp practice is at the bottom of my road! I live in Northumberland, so we are used to having to drive everywhere for nearly everything, as it is so rural. Annoying thing is not being able to drive at the moment!
Hope you don’t have to go back too many more times for drainage.

Hi everyone,
I had an alillary clearance two weeks ago and had my drain removed last Tuesday. Been doing all the exercises but seem to have a collection of fluid under the arm come over the weekend. Gets more painful and tight at night. Spoke to BCN today who told me to come along to the hospital this afternoon and she will have a look. I wonder if I am going to need it drained. It is reassuring to read all your comments and that after having it drained it eventually settles down.


Hi everyone
Well Sandra and Helen did they drain ‘it’ off for you? I have been this morning to be drained again for the third time. I’m now on antibiotics as it’s protocol to have them if you needed draining more than twice! Big bullet ones too!!
Great isnt it, just seems to go on on

Hi Vanessa,

Yes, I went along to the hospital yesterday afternoon and the BCN drained it. What a relief! She said that it could need draining again and if it does swell up again, I should go along again on Friday. At least the “tennis ball under the arm” feeling has now gone and I actually am feeling brighter in myself too. The exercises are now easier to do now. Still not sure about going to Rome on Monday although I feel a bit stronger today after having slept better last night. My fear is that if I get fluid collection again whilst I am away, I would not want a strange person sorting it out. The BCN said it is very tiring as there is a lot of walking to do around Rome (she has just come back herself) but she said it is up to me and if I feel strong enough. My husband thinks the sunshine might be a tonic before I start radiotherapy and we could take it easy and take things slowly whilst we are there. I shall have to decide towards the end of the week.


Hi there
I went in to see the consultant yesterday, who looked at my wound and the swellings and said they are not bad enough to need draining, and he would prefer not to drain them unnecessarily. I have to say, that following a second lot of leakage from the wound the night before, the whole area felt less tight and painful than before anyway. I was told that if a seroma develops, it would be hot and red as well. So, I am putting up with the discomfort and at the moment the leakage has stopped, which means the area around the wound is starting to feel tight again! Just got to be patient I suppose.
I have been told that leakage can go on for a while, and to just use dressings.
My surgeon is lovely, and was very reassuring. I feel better just for the reassurance that it is all ok, and he reassured me about the lumpy bumpy appearance of the wound, because I had felt fairly disgusted by it (I thought I was prepared for coping with it as I am a nurse, but I was surprised how I felt about it when I saw it in all its glory the first time last week - I was really down and upset). he said it will settle in time.
I was told to keep the exercises up and, in a very nice way, not to lose any weight because my belly is just the right size as it is for reconstruction - he obviously knows how to cheer a girl up!! My husband was less impressed lol.
Sandra, I hope you do feel up to your trip to Rome, and Vanessa just hold on in there - sorry about the antibiotics, but I suppose better safe than sorry.
It is so helpful being able to communicate on this forum!


Good to know we are all ‘filling up’ together!! What a life we now lead eh… Sandra I do hope you enjoy Rome, you could always do short bursts and try to take it easier rather than being on your feet all day. You can always go again and see the bits you missed!
Wishing you a better more comfortable week
love Vanessa

Hi everyone

I had a mastectomy and LD reconstruction on 15th June and had 5 drains in but 2 of them kept filling up but after 8 days they were taken out for fear of infection. So I came home with a "hot water bottle " sized fluid lump on my back. It was still there when I saw my surgeon 3 weeks later but he said he didn’t want to drain it. I saw the BCN in August to show her that the fluid was still there but she said the surgeon wouldn’t drain it because I had started my chemo and there was a risk of infection.

So 4 months down the line I still have fluid - a lot less but still uncomfie and tight. So just sitting tight and hope it eventually goes !

Love Brenda xx

That sounds very uncomfortable Brenda.
I have continued to leak from the tiny hole in my scar, but saw consultant for my proper appointment today, and he is still happy with things.
They gave me some more dressings luckily, as I am getting through them quite fast!