Post op wound infection

Hello everyone, this is my first post. I had a WLE for LCIS in January but it turned out to be an invasive carcinoma. As I didn’t have complete clear margins, further surgery and SLNB was scheduled. Two weeks after the original surgery my wound reopened due to infection. In spite of antibiotics the infection (staph aureus) persisted, delaying the follow up surgery until April. At this stage they also found DCIS. Luckily all of these are low grade. After the second op the staph infection was back as well as another infection (klebsiella). The klebsiella has now gone but the staph is still here. My surgeon and BCN seem unconcerned saying they are just opportunist bugs. I have my first oncology appointment next week to arrange radiotherapy but I can’t see it happening as the breast wound won’t heal Evernote though I have been on antibiotics off and on for 13 weeks. I have it packed and dressed by my GP practice nurse three times a week (at it’s worse it was daily). The wound is now 6cm deep and still weeping. The only real support I get is from the practice nurse who kept me going through the really bad days of infection. I am now on tamoxifen which I’ll be on for five years. Has anyone else had prolonged post op wound infections and if so how was it treated. My whole life has been on hold for 4 mo ths now and the delay for treatment is stressing me now.

Hi Joolz2000

Welcome to the BCC discussion forums, I’m sure your fellow forum users will be along soon to give you some much needed support. In the meantime could I suggest you give our helpline team here a ring, they’re here to support you through this offering practical and emotional support when it’s needed. Lines open tomorrow morning at 9am - 5pm (Mon-Fri 9-5 and Sat 10-2) 0808 800 6000

Take care,

Jo, Facilitator

Thanks Jo, I’ll do that.

Hi Joolz
My SNB wound got infected, and I also developed an allergy to the wound dressings - it took months to heal; the lymph nodes in my armit all swelled up which I assumed was a bad thing but I was told it showed ‘everything was working as it should’. Whilst it kind of freaked me out, the infection didn’t seem to bother the medical staff who got involved (I saw the oncologist, chemo nurses, a couple of GPs, the surgeon and an out-patients nurse about it - I just didn’t believe it was nothing to worry about!).
In the end it healed, with a rather more obvious scar than it should have had. The surgeon was more concerned about what she might have done wrong than it being a risk to my health!

Good luck with your wound - keep having it looked at, if only to give you peace of mind.


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Thanks Peg. i’m glad you eventually healed. I’ll just have to wait it out!
J x

Hi Joolz2000
I don’t know if my story will be relevant but sharing it in case there is anything helpful. After breast reduction in July 2011, I had over a year of wound healing problems, evolving fat necrosis, infection and cellulitis - both breasts. I spent the year on iv and oral antibiotics, with constant dressings, a few months on a wound vac and a couple of debridements. The bugs were staph aureus and once proteus mirabilis.
The routine post-op pathology contained 1cm of high grade dcis in the left breast - this had not shown up in the pre-op mammogram so am very grateful it was discovered. Second opinions on the pathology and repeat mammogram + mri indicated no residual disease and I opted for radiotherapy but, because the healing problems continued, radiotherapy could not be done and, in February 2012, I decided to have a mastectomy. Interestingly this healed quickly and without problems while the right breast grumbled on with wound problems and antibiotics for another few months.
Do you know if you have much fat necrosis? I decided to have a review with another consultant in August 2012 (by which time the right breast was close to finally healing) and this was the first question she asked me when she saw the iist of antibiotics. She said she had seen this post-breast reduction outcome twice before - rare but no known reason - she said research needs to be done. I know a degree of fat necrosis is common with breast surgery. My surgeon was also worried that she had done something wrong but I know I got excellent care.
I realise the factors in your own situation may be completely different to mine. I do understand how your life goes on hold with this healing challenge. Hopefully you’ll have a chance to discuss your situation further when you have the appointment to discuss radiotherapy. You will heal up - keep the faith!

Hi Joolz, so sorry to hear you have had a rough 4 months, I had WLE and SNB on 1st May and after a week developed an infection in both wound sites and ended up being readmitted to hospital for surgery to clear the infected area and stayed in for 4 days for intravenous antibiotics. I am now having both wounds packed and dressings changed daily at my local surgery, although this week they have said I can go every other day which feels like a big step forward. I keep asking how long it will take for the wounds to heal and nobody seems to be able to give me a clear answer which I find very frustrating.
i got results back last Wed and thankfully lymph nodes are clear and they got clear margins, which i was so relieved at as the thought of more surgery was really stressing me out, but they did remove 2 tumours (only small, 7mm and 9) but they were invasive lobular rather than ductal which they had originally diagnosed, so I am now waiting for an MRI scan to check there are no further tumours.
i had been told that I would be having radiotherapy too, but again guess this cant start until both wounds are healed, I guess it also now depends on what the MRI scan shows.
i know it’s only been a month for me, but I can totally empathise with you, for the first couple of weeks I felt so down and fed up and felt like I was the only person to have gone through this, but I am a great believer in PMA so am trying to stay positive! I read that vitamin C and zinc were helpful for healing and lots of protein and I am also trying to walk for exercise to help increase bloodflow. Stay strong and best of luck for next week. X

Thanks Peg, I’ll just have to wait it out. Glad to hear you finally healed.
J x

Chiron and Loulabell, thank you both for your posts. I am looking at the positives now. I only have infection in one wound and my MRI result looks good. I just get a bit stressed about the delay in radiotherapy. At the outset you just assume everything will go as planned but obviously not the case. Will have to see what the oncologist suggests tomorrow. Thanks once again for all the support.
J x

Hi there
i had a WLE and SNB on 2nd July - i was symtomless and just noticed a lump after an injury to my breast playing sport. I was told i it was almost certainly cancerous and would need op etc same day of mammo/ultrasound and b4 biopsy results, talk about shock! An infection in breast wound 2 days post op and they hit it with STONG antibiotic tabs which worked. Got seroma in same site after this and was Drained off with needle. All good then 3 weeks ago had Snsidle looked at as it was oozing since day one and not comfy … Big heamotoma grr so had to have wound reopened excavated and now having it packed and dressed by district nurse every day. It’s healing really well more than halved in depth in 2.5 weeks. No pain and must say feels a lot better since excavations. I have rad planning appt tmw and wonder if they start rads b4 I’m fully healed will it slow heal rate as the rads kill healthy cells as well? I’m in a good position I know as don’t need chemo but I’m sick of it tbh now. I don’t want any more complications!!! What’s your views? Also v worried bout tamoxifen side effects, has ANYONE not really had any? Please give me some good news

Hi Joolz
I had double mastectomy in Nov 2011. This year I had implant replacement. They had to remove the left immplant due to infection. I still have infection and a weeping wounds which I dress every morning . I have been on antibiotics for last 3 months and now my surgeon says to wait and it will take time to heal.
Its quite upsetting to get up every morning hoping that the infection has dried up only to find wet bandages.
I am just pryaing it heals fast and I can move on.
Hope you feel better soon

Sorry not been on for a while. My BCN referred me to the plastic surgery unit as wound wouldn’t heal. I had another op at the end of June to have the wound debrided and a VAC therapy pump fitted. I was attached to a portable pump for nearly three weeks but it was like a miracle. The wound healed. I had the pump dressing changed twice a week and at each change the would looked better and better. The oncologist wouldn’t refer me for radiotherapy until the wound was closed and dry . it was a long wait but better than having the wound break down during treatment. I have my first radiotherapy session on Tuesday 27th, 18 in total but feel that the endless trips to the nurse and hospital are coming to an end.

I started tamoxifen in April and started Zoladex injections in July. I have had some trouble sleeping, some tiredness, a few aches but not sure if it’s the tamoxifen and Zoladex or just that I’m treatment weary! My idea is to take all treatment offered and hopefully it’ll be my first and last brush with BC.

Thank you all for your comments, support and encouragement.


Yes post op infections and a haematoma! Breast surgery was 12 June and am still having dressings applied. The wound is only about 3 cm but has driven me crazy. Am on chemo now and have had 4 treatments. No-one is overly concerned about the wound and the district nurses say doctor said it would take 6 months to heal after so much infection. I feel for you