Hello All,
I underwent a mastectomy and lymph node clearance 4 weeks ago. I had 24 lymph nodes removed, of which 23 were cancerous. I am happy to say that the subsequent bone and CT scans have just come back clear, but have developed seroma as a consequence. I am due to see the Oncologist this week.
I had a drain in following surgery which fell out on day 5. I have since been back for aspiration twice and on both occasions had 450 mls drained. Needless to say I have filled back up again and can’t decide what is best to do as I am really concerned about the risk of infection with continuous aspirations. I am a bit uncomfortable but not in pain. Will this increase my risk of developing lymphoedema?
I would appreciate others views/experiences - if I leave it, will it go away on its own or would I be risking other complications?
Thank you,

Hello Moulton Lady

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June, moderator

Hi Christine, lymphoedema is a bit unpredictable, if you have had a full clearance you are at more risk but plenty people have full clearance of nodes and have been fine but the risk is a lifelong one. I only had WLE and four nodes out but went onto to develop lymphoedema but I also had a seroma and there does seem to be a link between having seromas and lymphoedema but no-one has come up with a reason why…not a huge amount of research on lymphoedema unfortunately.

My seroma took the form of getting out of bed one morning and my poorly boob literally exploded ! It was like something out of an alien film, I stood there and swore rather a lot. But i was lucky(?) in a way in that I had a small hole as an outlet so no need for aspiration, I just went to the distict nurse to literally milk the gunk out, lasted about a week and was fine and dandy after that and no infection.
Good luck with your continuing recovery and hope your seroma sorts itself out .

Sandra x

Hi I had mx and clearance in August. I to developed a seroma, however at my hospital they don’t like to drain it as they say it just refills and its best to leave it and the body will eventually absorb it back in. They only drain it if it is putting pressure on the wound. I did get an infection, I think it was through an open wound where a scab came off. I ended up having to be drained of pus, which was awful as up to me getting the infection my seroma had started to settle.
all I would say is if you can bare with it, do, as it will go down. Also if you do get a temperature or any redness on the wound site go straight in to see your bc nurse so they can get you on antibiotics.
im fine now, it’s alshied down and I’ve finished my rads, so just look at bit pink.

Good luck with the rest of your journey x

hi christine
can you fill me in on what happens next when most of the nodes are involved im really worried as ive had masectomy ten 3 weeks later node clearance do they then do scans and when does treatment begin for you. Id appreciate any information.

Hi I’ve had two different experiences with seroma. I had a mx November 2011, the drain fell out after 2 days and I ended up with a massive wobbly seroma. It isn’t my hospital’s policy to aspirate them and I was assured my body would eventually reabsorb the fluid. It did, but it took months and I also developed a haematoma. Then I had a second mx this November. Because of my ‘history of collection’ they made sure my drain stayed put for over a week and a lot of fluid drained away. Then,because I’d had the second mx as supposedly risk-reducing but they coincidentally found a tumour, I went back for node sampling, my wound was opened up again and put back together with blue sutures, but I didn’t have a drain. Like Sandra, I got out of bed on Saturday and something gave way. I just stood there with fluid gushing out of a small hole in my wound. It wasn’t unpleasant, just really weird. I’m due to go back for my results tomorrow, and also to have the sutures taken out. There’s still a lot of fluid there so I’ve got a feeling I’m going to go SPLAT! when they take them out. Anyway, best of luck and I hope it settles down soon. xx

Hi Jenny,

I had a lymph node biopsy before surgery so had the mastectomy and lymph node clearance all in one operation. My understanding is that they don’t automatically send you for scans, only if you are above a certain criteria. My diagnosis was T2/3 N3 MX. My turmor (T) was 46mm, nodes (N) were 23 positive out of 24 removed, and mets (M) unknown, hence the X. I presume that now the scans have come back clear the ‘M’ part of my report is now ‘M0’ which means no mets found. Because of my original result we (I have a wonderful, supportive husband) did fear the worst but in the meantime researched as much as we could and came to the conclusion that there is so much the medics can do for us these days that we would be positively positive! I am seeing the Oncologist this week for treatment planning so am just playing the waiting game at the moment.

Hang on in there - kind regards,

thank you cristine please let me know how you get on


Hi Moulton Lady,

I had a persistent seroma on my back after an mx and immediate LD recon, draining around 700ml each time is was aspirated. After three aspirations the plastic surgeon prescribed what she called a “magic injection” - a steroid injection of some sort. It worked perfectly… no more seroma. It may be worth asking if your hospital offers this.

Hello Christine,
I had a Seroma, but my hospital drained it several times. The 1st time was when I saw the Consultant who had done the full axillary node clearance and she aspirated it in the clinic. It did not improve so I had to return to the Seroma clinic as I could not use my arm there was so much fluid. It was finally drained under ultra sound so the radiologist could actually see waht she was doing. It felt so much better and I was able to use my arm again ! BUT then I got an infection and Cellulitis and ended up back on the ward for 5 days having IV antibiotics. That was a couple of years ago in July 2010. To date I have not developed Lymphodema but I did take part in the trial at our hospital to have my arms measured , so they keep a close eye on me.
Good Luck with what you decide. There is no right or wrong answer and the different hospitals and authorities deal with everything so different. Take good care of yourself. Love Tracy xxx

Hi there i had a mx and full node clearance on Wednsday and have a drain in but i have developed a seroma at the same time. Up untill today the drain had between 2-300 mls each day over 24hrs but all of a sudden today it has stopped collecting fluid. There is a build up of fluid at the top of my chest near my back, under my armpit and in my arm. My arm is actually the most uncomfortable part and even though i reported it to my bcn on Friday and the district nurse contacted the hospital on Friday and Saturday they dont seem bothered. I was asked to go to A and E on Saturday to be checked over but sent away again with no treatment. They just keep saying as there is no infection and the drain is working (well was at the time) that there’s nothing they can do. They havent even suggested draining it with a needle so i’m stuck with it. I’m hoping the district nurse will take out the drain tomorrow and i’m back to the hospital on Friday for post op check up so i’m going to ask them to drain at least some of the fluid then to release the pressure in my arm. I too am hoping this wont increase my risk of Lymphodema.

Hi Christine,
I would just like to add that if you are undergoing radiotherapy then seromas should not be drained at this time according to my consultant. He said that aspiration could cause infection and may also affect the settings for the radiotherapy machine - especially if the seroma that is drained is large. He was also of the opinion that if left, the fluid will be absorbed into the body naturally over time.
Best of luck with your treatment.
Sunshine Lollipops.

hi christine
thanks for information i went for results today and they were clear so its chemo and rads for me going tomorrow to sort it out
jenny xx

Hi Jenny,
Really pleased to hear your results were clear. My Onology appointment was brought forward to yesterday and I have been set up to start having FEC-T in January. Because of the number of positive lymph nodes (23 our of 24 removed) I have been warned that the treatment is a ‘tall ask’ but I am going to be as positive as I can be . See you on the 'Chemo in January’thread?!

Kind regards,

Hi ladies
I finished treatment in August and boob was settling down then about 5/6 weeks ago it started to feel very hot … red… and swollen.I saw bn she said it was ok and was after effect of rads.So I carried on for a couple more weeks and cutting a very long story short after another bn check…my own gp…a visit to A & E after waking up to find my boob was huge and burning hot…a wrong diagnosis of celulitus…a course of antibiotics…I finally had a quick app with my surgeon who bless her had all the time in the world for me.I had an ultra sound and I have developed a seroma along my scar line which was infected so strong boticks sorted out the hotness…I have to go back in a couple of weeks and see what she will do if anything.It was so great to have peace of mind and to know nothing nasty was going on …I j ust wish I would have known sooner and not had all those weeks of worry…I was convinced my cancer was back…these journey’s are awful arn’t they…
Take Care
Kate x