9 days ago i had a wle and auxillary clearance, i went to the breast clinic yesterday to have my steri strips removed, i said my armpit was relly hurting and they drained some fluid off, within 1 hour it filled up again, tonight my ampit is really swollen and feels very tight, my wound looks clean and is healing ok should i leave it or get it drained again it feels really weird, any advice welcome x

My armpit felt terrible for about 5 days after they let me go home, so altogether it was swollen and uncomfortable for about 2 weeks.

They didn’t do any extra draining, but they left the drain in for 5 days before I went home. It is still a bit swollen now and a bit tender, but they said to keep on with the exercises. I had my op on 7th Nov so that’s a month now.

If you’re worried definitely ask. My pit still feels really weird. But wound is healing nicely :o)

Hope this helps


Hi Galen
It’s now 2 weeks since my mastectomy and lymph node clearance and I had the swelling under my armpit drained once. It came up again almost straight away and is very uncomfortable but I have been told that my body needs to learn to deal with it. The wound is completely clean and there is no infection but I am extremely uncomfortable - I think this is normal though and it will just take time. I also have an incredible amount of tightness which is really unpleasant so you are not alone. Hope that reassures you.

Rebz x

Hello Galen and Rebz
I had a seroma under my arm after my WLE and axillary clearance. The BCN said it’s best to leave them as eventually the lymph will find a new pathway out in about 3 weeks !
However when the surgeon saw it he said straightaway that he had to draw the fluid off. The first time he did it there were 2 full syringes and it filled up again on the way home. I had it drained four times altogether and each time there was less fluid and eventually it stopped filling up.
If you feel very uncomfortable I would ask them to drain the fluid off again.
take care
Anthi x

Galen - Two tips that might help the drainage, and to make you feel more comfortable. Try wearing a supportive soft bra or sports tops that is quite deep under the arm, this gentle support will help you feel more comfortable, and may also help the fluid to reabsorb. You can also try lying on your side with the affected side up - rest your arm along a pillow for support. In this position gravity can also help a bit with the reabsorption. Do of course go back if you are just too uncomfortable, but you may find that the fluid does gradually reabsorb. Don’t forget to get your arm moving as well! There is some research that seems to indicate that the more times seromas are drained the more likely it is that you may get lymphoedema, so worth trying to see how you get on. Good luck! Sarah

Dear Galen

Sarah’s tips are really good. I found a kind of soft bandeau type support bra in M&S and if I wear it up under my armpit it seems to help with the swelling. I can also pull it on from the feet up as it has no straps which helps if my arm is difficult to raise up.

Also it’s gradually getting a bit better when I lie down the way Sarah describes.

I still have a swelling but it’s more comfortable. I have to see my onc on Tuesday so if I still have discomfort I’ll ask their advice, but I really want my body to respond on it’s own and find a new way to absorb the fluid.

Hope it gets better for you soon.

Cecelia. x

thank you so much for all your replies, i am stll in pain and really swollen but i wll try all the tips you have given me
love galen xx