Possible seroma after radiotherapy

Can anyone advise on this please? I had a double mastectomy in October plus node clearance, and no reconstruction. I had a few seromas drained soon afterwards but they were fine. Had 15 x radiotherapy in January. On day 12, I was remeasured as the right side of my chest was a bit swollen. They decided it was not enough to alter the plans so I finished the course of 15 days.

Now, a month later, the right side of my chest is still hard and swollen above the scar. It makes it feel very tight all the time. Saw the physio lady yesterday and she thinks there may be a seroma bubble/pocket embedded in the scar tissue that has been hardened by the radiotherapy, and so it can’t disperse. Any massage to soften the hard scar tissue might encourage more fluid to build up too apparently. My chest feels very tight because of it and it’s uncomfortable to take a deep breath or expand my lungs/rib cage. Physio advises me to go to the seroma clinic tomorrow for their advice. But I wondered if anyone here had similar experiences so I know a bit more about what the options are.

Any info appreciated! Thank you all.

Hi Nuthatch - yes that sounds very similar to me - I had right MX and total node clearance on that side too in September. Had 15 sessions of rads in December. I must admit to ignoring it for now and will take advice when I next see breast surgeon which is 30 March. I also find that some nights laying on the side I had MX (right) - I get terrible pain in my ribs - do you get that too? It goes once I move.

Hi jay68, and thanks for your reply. Not rib pain for me - that can’t help with your sleep! But uncomfortable when I turn over in the night because it’s so tight, and that wakes me up. Not sure if the BCN will diagnose the same thing as my physio is suggesting, but it does make sense. Not sure how the pocket can be emptied. Hoping it’s not a needle job because I’m not numb there any more! Will let you know what happens tomorrow. You’re very patient to wait for your surgeon appointment. I’d been hoping that physio massage could sort out the tightness but now it’s seeming to need a different approach so I’m keen to get that started!

Hello again jay68
Reporting back from my hospital visit. The BCN there also thought the hardness and swelling was a seroma, and so she aspirated it there and then. I was anxious about the needle, assuming I had feeling back in my chest, 4 months after surgery. But it was absolutely fine and I didn’t feel anything at all. Am now 65ml lighter. She said it was probably a blood vessel that was ruptured during rads and that leaked and got bigger. She also said it might refill again but if that happens there are steroid injections they can give that make the outer walls of the seroma sticky, and then they’ll knit together. So, hope that helps. Chest is still tight but at least it’s just hard scar tissue now and physio massage can hopefully sort it out. Hope your meeting on 30/3 goes well, and that your rib discomfort isn’t giving you too many broken nights. x