Post Op Pain

Was Diagnosed on 3 December, Had a lumpectomy on 20 December and still in so much pain as I have fluid around the scar site. Have been given antibiotics and pain killers but these don’t seem to work. Does anyone know of anything that I can do to help ease the pain? Someone mentioned putting cabbage leaves in my bra.


Am in similar position, Dx 2 December, lumpectomy Xmas Eve, I have been cooling a flannel down in freezer (not freezing completely) then putting in a sandwich bag in bra, worked for a bit but too painful to wear bra now, hopefully the antibiotics will kick in soon for you.

Have heard people using cabbage leaves for mastitas but not sure about post op infection but anything worth a try.

Hope you feel better soon.


Jok, I take it you have had someone look at you recently? If you are very swollen, perhaps some of the fluid could be drained.

Besides the cold flannel, you could also try those flexible freezer packs wrapped in something like a tea towel. They should at least numb things a bit. Or frozen peas or sweet corn. A bit bulky, I know, but I have my doubts about cabbage leaves unless they are very cold.

Some bras are more comfortable post op than others; soft smooth fabric or lining and seams that don’t go over the scar help. I used to put the big cotton makeup pads over my scar, just so nothing rubbed.

Am in a similar position but had my lumpectomy 4/10. Had severe infection post op, and 6 wks antibiotics. Tomorrow is 3 months since op!

They then thought it was a seroma but when I had it drained, it was blood rather than fluid, BCN has looked at boob with u/s and has said there is old blood in lots of cells, that can’t be drained because of small amount in each bit, but to rest!! The pain is really starting to get me down, as otherwise (except for few days post chemo) feel fine. I can’t drive far and even simple tasks like taking a string of xmas cards down today has left me in a lot of pain.

I have been told it could take another couple of months!!!

Sorry, hope yours sorts itself sooner!!

SJ xx

Hi Cheryl,

Brill tip about make up pads as have been going braless & doctor did advise me to try & wear a bra, luckily for me am quite small chested but bra does really rub especially as left one is soooo swollen at the mo.

Sj did you/do you suffer with much armpit pain from snb as that is what hurts me the most it just aches all the time although i appreciate i am only 10 days post op.


I had a full axillary clearance and the armpit pain settled in a couple of weeks or so, although totally numb there and inside of arm but I also am having physio, for the scarring because of the infection I didn’t get mobile quick enough. Physio also deep massages underarm and inside of arm, which is lovely although I don’t have cording, everything is very tight.

I am still wearing Sloggi cotton bras - no seams, and as I am quite small chested, ok for now. The thought of putting one of my old bras on at the moment just makes me wince!

I foolishly thought that the surgery would be the easy bit of all this but doesn’t feel like that at the moment!

SJ xx

Hi Sarah,

I had quite a lot of swelling and some underarm pain after the WLE and SNB, and quite a lot more after I had to have a second op to clear all the nodes. The nurses drained it all 4 or 5 times before it began to subside. They use a fine needle through the scare, so the draining process isn’t painful. The pain or discomfort may come and go over time as your body heals itself, I’m afraid. I have also found it helps to tuck a cushion under my arm to hold it out a bit. I think you can buy them–and there are some local charities that do them–specially shaped and even with ribbons to tie over you shoulder, but I just used a small sofa cushion, two in a pillowcase when the seroma was at its worst.

It helps to do the exercises. Eventually. You can download a booklet from this site, if you weren’t given one.

Good luck,


Hi Cheryl,
I couldnt agree more with your tip about the under-arm cushion, Ive been a lot more comfy in bed since I discovered how much it helps. Other tips I could offer are:-if your op is on your lead hand side, stand slightly sideways when youre cooking, specially stirring or carving meat, when youre mopping or using a cylinder vac,again standing sideways so that your arm is going in & out at say
2oclock rather than 12oclock is a lot less painful. I still have painful days where I fiddle about with my bra all day and its 19months since my MX, what can be a comfy bra one day can really irrate me the next. Im sorry to be a wet blanket but I was led to believe that it wouldnt be sore after a week or so, Im probably the exception but don`t get upset if the discomfort carries on a while Sarah, Love Mags xx

Hi Mags & Cheryl,

Thank you both, have been out & got a cushion, really helps especially at night I imagine & great tip about the hoovering & mopping because as we all know, you know you shouldnt but its got to be done :frowning:

Am at hospital on Thursday so am sure they will be checking, it feels alot better today, armpit one looks fine as does boob scar but still quite swollen & angry looking.

Sj, am off to have a look at purchasing some sloggi bras as am sure they will be more comfortable than what i have.

Hi Sarah

Got mine at Matalan - if they have your size half the normal price!


SJ xx

Am in full agreement with the under-arm cushion idea - I also found it very comfortable to sleep with a small cushion under my arm. I had a WLE and full axillary clearance (26/11) and the armpit is still very tight.
I found it also help ful to keep my arm stretched when resting (watching tv) as tendons (or that’s what I think it is!) very tight in armpit. Whilst I can lift the arm with the elbow bent, it’s much harder to then stretch out the arm fully. Keeping the arm stretched is assisting my movement for the better!
I bought a Sadie soft cup bra from bravissimo, and it works well for me. The material does not come up that high under the arm, leaving my axillary scar clear.
Hope this helps.
Nikki x

I agree with Nikki about keeping arm stretched. I had my op 6 weeks ago and if i don’t do the excercises twice a day, my arm gets very stiff. Moisturising with aqueous cream seems to help too.
The best handy tip my BCN gave me was if it hurts when you do housework, don’t do it. A woman after my own heart!

Hi - I had full axillary clearance on 25/11 and still in pain. My armpit feels very tight and can raise my arm but not fully above my head. I bought a couple of maternity sleep bras from mothercare (£20 for 2) and they are so comfy as there are no wires plus you can step into them which makes it so much easier. I’m quite big busted (size e) so I bought a size 12 and they fit perfectly.
Am doing my exercises but it hurts. Have a physio appointment on 26th Jan and we all know that when the therapist this won’t hurt it will do!!! x