Lymph Leakage from Armpit Wound?


Not quite two weeks ago I had a lumpectomy, and four lymph nodes were removed.

I’ve done my physio exercises, but sometimes my arm has still felt a bit tight or tingly. If I do the exercises, that tends to help, but then my armpit swells up. Often lying down helps that to drain off, but it has been at least somewhat swollen the last couple of days. It is not red and does not feel hot.

Just a little while ago, I was doing my arm exercises, in this case I had my affected arm up the wall and was leaning against it. I felt something wet in my armpit and looked. There is a bit of clear fluid leaking out.

If it weren’t Sunday I’d be phoning my BCN or the helpline here. As it is, I guess I could phone NHS24, but don’t have much faith in them.

Might be worth phoning the hospital that did your surgery and see what they say about it. I had WLE and just over a week later my armpit was very swollen so had to go in to see the surgeon who drained some fluid.

Good luck with the NHS24 if you go to see them… I will not bore you with the details but I saw them 2-3 weeks post op due to swelling behind my scar and they were not much help.

Hi ScottishHoosier

Breast Cancer Care have written a booklet called ‘Your operation and recovery’ which you may find hepful to read as it contains information about some of the symptoms you may be experiencing following surgery, you can read it via the following link:

Please feel free to call our helpline tomorrow for further information and advice on 0808 800 6000, we are open Mon-Fri 9am-5pm and Sat 9am-2pm.

Best wishes

I have had lumpectomy few weeks ago and just had full lymph clearence and I was told I might have swelling under arm of lymph and fluid if I do get it, its called a seroma and would have to be drained off every few days or weekly , depending on how much gathered.
Hope this helps, try not to worry it is normal,
I think it tells you about seromas on this website.
Take care
Dawn X

I had a lumpectomy & axillary clearance and two drains for a day before one was removed before I went home. The other one stayed in for a few more days and I found emptying its bag one of the nastiest chores so far. When I went in to have it removed I pointed out that it was still filling quite fast and asked what would happen to that liquid when the drain was taken out. The nurse called in the doc who said that the wound would continue to leak a bit, perfectly ‘normal’ (don’t you get sick of that word?) and not to bother the hospital until the swelling was the size of an orange.

As I waited until my next appointment about ten days later I’d look at the fruit bowl and think - how big is an orange? what kind of orange? a tangerine? a great big navel orange? I felt like I had a big round tupperware container stapled to my ribs under my arm and there was often a bit of leakage. By the time the appointment came round - of course I could have gone in earlier, but it wasn’t particularly hot, and it wasn’t the size of an orange - the golf-ball sized lump had sort of deflated into surrounding tissue and though I was still swollen, there was no need for needle drainage.

It’s now been six weeks plus. I can lift my arm and swing it about with only a little discomfort, but that feeling of having something sort of lunch-box-sized stapled to my ribs under my arm has kind of come and gone in the meanwhile. Some days better than others. Gentle yoga seemed to increase the swollen sensation; vicious weed removal seemed to drain it. My onc thought this was a bit odd.

I’m sure you have now seen a doc, ScottishHoosier, but in my opinion swelling, leakage etc. at 2 weeks sounds quite ‘normal’. Don’t you loathe the word?

I had a caesarian 16 years ago and the wound pumped up like a football after going home with the baby. I went to a private gyno a week later because I was a bit tired of public health and she palpated the bulge a bit and it exploded all over the place - I screamed and she was bloody lucky she was wearing specs. It was like Alien. A bit of a leak is nothing.