Fluid build-up


I had my mastectomy on the 15th Jan 08, and have just noticed that there is a raised area near the scar that appears to be filled with fluid, it rippled when I touched it and the ripples went right up to near my armpit. I have been exercising regularly and wonder if this has caused it, any advice or similar experiences ladies?

Tracy xx


sounds very like a seroma to me - its a build up of fluid as you seem to describe. a lot of centres prefer to leave them well enough, I had to have mine drained 3 times - if its small it will be absorbed back into the body. Contact you bc nurse and talke to her.


I have my surgery on the 2 Jan. And i have fluid in my boob and also on my back like a hot water bottle. My surgery said it will get worse before it gets better and to try to put up with it. They will drain it for you if it becomes hot, painful or very sore. But once drained you tend to have to keep having it done for some time after plus there is a risk of infection where the drainage site is. It will eventually be reabsorted into your body and you won’t even know where it was. Mine is now 4.5 weeks after surgery and it is just starting to go down is is the size of my hand now and was the size of both my hands together side by side and about 3 inches proud of my back. Sleeping with it is difficult and you kind of perch on one shoulder so you are not resting on it. Unfortunatley, there is no quick way to get rid of it is just up to your body.

I had a seroma in my upper back/shoulder after my second surgery, for total axillary removal. I had to go to the hospital every 2-3 days for about 3 weeks to get it drained, as it was too painful to even sit in a chair, never mind sleeping. Total, instant relief. My bc surgeon said it was because “I had to be really brutal to get all those cancerous nodes out.” Just a distant memory now. I guess it depends on how painful the seroma is, whether you decide to have it drained. For me there was no option, and it didn’t hurt!

Thanks for all your messages, I do feel a lot better now.

I managed to fall over in the street today (wasn’t drunk, honest!) and landed the knee of my bad side, which jarred it a bit. I wasn’t hurt too badly but did feel a bit of a fool.

Anyway, thanks again for all your helpful advice,

Very best wishes,

Tracy xxx

Oh Tracy, are you OK? I’m sorry to hear that you fell, and hope you didn’t hurt yourself.

Like the other say, you have a seroma, which you can get drained or wait till it disappears on it’s own.

Cecelia. x

Hi Cecelia,

Thanks for your message, I’m OK now - I just have a lovely graze on my knee, and my pride was severely hurt as, naturally, I had an audience in what is normally a quiet street!

I think I will see if the fluid drains away on it’s own, if it doesn’t I’ll get it drained. I’m trying to do my exercises as I’ve heard this can help but my arm is so stiff I’m having a bit of difficulty doing them. My inner arm is sore still and that doesn’t help either, but I shall persevere.

I hope you’re well, and wish you all the very best,

Tracy xx

Hi all
I’m new on here so don’t know if I should start a new thread or am ok to ask here. Sorry if I’ve got it wrong.
I had a WLE on January 31 with 4 node thingy under the arm.I was doing well till last night when my boob just ached all night and every time I turned over it woke me up. All day today it’s been ‘dragging’ down one side and sort of tingling. Has anyone had similar? My armpit has been swollen over the weekend but seems to have gone down a bit. Is it the nerves ‘knitting’? I wish they told us what to expect!
Thanks in advance.

Everyone is different in their body’s reaction to surgery but if you feel something’s wrong it’s best to have it checked out.I developed an infection less than a week after surgery and my breast swelled due to fluid build up. It hurt a lot though and went bright red. If I were you I’d get a nurse or doctor to have a look.

I had WLE on 1 Feb and getting a bit of fluid buildup too. My homeopath suggested drinking dandelion or nettle tea to help relieve fluid buildup. Been on it 3 days and the buildup isn’t getting any worse. Not the tastiest ever but worth a try.

Hi Everyone

Doesn’t advice given by medics vary drastically? I was told it is best to have fluid drawn off as soon as it becomes un-comfortable. The rationalle was if you are uncomfortable you will not relax and rest properly and hence will not heal as quickly. I have been having approx 100mls drawn weekly but it is now reducing.

Since my mastectomy 4 weeks ago, I , like Tracy, have also fallen over twice. Once down the stairs and once on a flat surface. I hadnt touched a drop either, and the last time I think I fell over was in the playground!!!

Please can I ask if anyone else has experienced super sensitive, burning skin around their operation site? Any tips or cures? My physiotherapist suggested rubbing the area with different textures to de-sensitise the nerves. I was also prescribed medication but could not tolerate the side effects, normal painkillers do not seem to help.

Bye for now.
Jackie x.

Hi Tracy,
I had my mastectomy on 9th January. drains out and home on 12th Jan.
I gather in some places people go home with drains in-situ, and this would certainly seem a good alternative option.

By the following Tuesday I had quite a bloated breast, the whole area had filled up and was uncomfortable,
stretching the skin so my non-breast looked larger and much firmer than my remaining one.
After some ringing around for advice I decided to hang on for the check-up at my local hospital on the Thursday rather than drive 48 miles to Derriford. Instant relief! although the instant flat chest was a bit disconcerting.

The following week, although there was a slight improvement and a definite slowing down, the fluid was aspirated again on Wednesday.
The Aspirating process was totally painless, but I did feel exhausted the following day.
(Perhaps this was due to the distance travelled as much as the process.)
Since then fluid build-up has been less and less. Almost none in the morning and build up again at night.
I decided that as long as the fluid could move when pushed and didn’t stretch the skin and scar too much, I would cope with it.

The amount seemed to relate to how much I had done or not done.
Some evenings just uncomfortable, others I am restricted to just sitting with an icepack on.

I am/was a very fit/active 57 year old, used to physical work and always busy.
The constant tiredness and inability to get back to normality is totally frustrating.
I try not worry or feel bad about the fact that some people seem to be able to get back at work after 4 weeks. and I just take one day at the time.
I have found the best way for me is to listen to my body, knowing that if I don’t there will a price to pay.
Good luck with your recovery!
Amazon D

Hi Amazon D,

Thanks for your reply, I hope you’re feeling a lot better now. The fluid build-up around my scar seems to be subsiding a little now and is much more bearable. I am now 6 weeks post surgery, I will be going to see my BCN on Monday to get a prothesis and she can take a look at the remaining fluid for me.

I’m back at work on 17th March, I don’t think I could have gone back after 4 weeks as I have a very physical job that involves loads of lifting and carrying - although I am going to get some help (I hope) and will only be doing mornings at first. Can’t say I’m looking foward to going back as I’ve got too used to doing what I want with my days!!!

All the best of luck to you,

Tracy xxx

Hi Lynnietom

I too am new to this - joined tonight as I was unable to sleep and have spent half the night surfing the net, then stumbled upon this site.

I too had a WLE on 25th Jan combined with a breast reduction on the other breast to make them the same size. Also had 16 lymph nodes removed, 8 of which were found to be cancerous. It is 5 weeks today since my op and ever since I have experienced lots of different pains/discomfort, soreness and burning, shooting pains and electric shock like pain in lots of different places, at different times. The strange sensations at times have been extremely uncomfortable and I had thought it would be settling by now. I also had to go back in and have more fluid drained the week after my op, having stayed in hospital a week with a drain. However my McMillan nurse has pointed out that as my surgeon removed the lymph nodes through my breast cavity and not via another incision and literally had 2 fists in my armpit it would take awhile to settle down. I guess there is still alot of internal bruising to heal. I find I am most comfortable when sitting down which isn’t helping with the sleeping at night as I am simply not tired, together with the fact I have had to sleep on my back since my op which is the worst position for me so that probably isn’t helping either.
Prescribed co-dydromol which has made no difference whatsoever.

Hope things have improved for you since you last posted.


Hi Jacqui
Welcome but sorry you’ve had to come here ;o(. I’ve found lots of advice here so hope you do too.
I feel this week has seen something of an improvement overall.
I suppose there is a lot of ‘healing’ going on under the skin that we can’t see and that is why I’m surprised when it hurts in places I don’t think it should!
I find I can now sleep on my side quite comfortably, after a bit of manouvering! In the early days when I lay on my side I put a pillow under neath your arm so I had my head on one pillow and another one down the side like an ‘L’ shape, if that makes sense. I found that helpful as it supported the arm and kept it off my boob. I see you’ve had both sides operated on so that may not be an option for you but maybe worth a try.
The worst thing for me is the sensitivity round the nipple area. I find it quite painful if my clothes rub at all. I hoping that it will all settle down and I’ve just got to be patient - not easy!
Hope you have had an ok day, Jacqui.
Take care.