SLNB with Seroma

Hello. Had my SLNB about 2 weeks ago and got a armpit swelling which is a seroma. Had it drained and the relief but it came back a day later. Anyone else experienced this as any advice such as keep having it drained, let it dissipate etc or just helpful hints an tips would be much appreciated.

I had seroma drained twice and then realised that I wasnt resting the arm as I should - I was decorating at the time!!! Thought I was superwoman and then I realised that it was me and if I rested it as much as possible the seroma didnt build up. What little did build then went back down after a week or so of me resting a bit. I am now doing a job that is physical and have learned to rest at the proper times and its been 6 months since SN/mx.

Good luck and please dont worry as these things have a way of settling down - just take your time and work out what works for you - pamper yourself you deserve it.

God blessxx

i’ve also had seroma drained from under my armpit twice. The nurse threatened to strap my arms to my sides the second time and then wasn’t pleased when i told her that wasn’t such a great idea as i had to drive home!

I have tried really hard not to over exert my arm but it still came back. I havent had it drained again yet as i’m nearing the end of chemo, but went to see the breast surgeon today who said it will absorb back in time…how long though he didn’t say - i’ve had this one for about 4 months now.

I was wondering if anyone else experiences a throbbing pain under their arm if they do a little too much? eg i had to sweep the leaves yesterday - i’ve found its impossible to follow their advice as a single mum or else we’d be living in a dump with no food to eat - who else is gonna carry the shopping bags???!!

Suzi - sorry not been any help but its something that has been bugging me too!


Daisy is right. You must try not to overdo it with your arm or you may do permanent harm.

Just do the absolute minimum…

I would say b****r the leaves unless they are a danger to shipping, get your groceries delivered (internet shopping?) and/or live off takeaways for a bit.

Forget cleaning the house, too. It can keep. Your recovery is more important.

X to all


Thanks for the advice will give the online grocery shopping a go (never thought of that!) managed to do all my xmas shopping online basically everyones getting goodies from the cancer research shop this year!
its still really hard not to do ‘stuff’ though - i feel really guilty when my 65 yr old mum offers to help out - it should be the other way round! And i’ve always been so independant, i find it hard to ask for help.
Physically i look fit and well (with my wig on!) and i think people assume there is nothing wrong with you - i find it hard to admit to myself that there is never mind to other people!
may be the nurses idea of strapping my arm up - isn’t such a bad idea afterall!!!

Actually this has been helpful to realise it’s not just me. The 4 months worries me a tad as that seems a long time but perhaps compared to other options; it’s not so bad. My cons just said to lay off exercise for a couple of weeks so will see how it goes. Sadly it’s my right arm and I’m right handed so that makes it a tad more difficult.
After 2nd drainage, i have had a large dressing left on which means altho the fluid has returned its not concentrated into a ball. I’m wondering if leaving the dressing on for some days i.e. compressing it may help. Anyone else any thoughts on this?


I have been plagued with a seroma since finishing rads at the end of May. I have followed all the advice from the surgeon, the oncologist, and the BCN, ie cut back on the exercise, keep it compressed after draining, avoid heavy lifting and ironing. I have had it drained manually by the BCN, and under ultra sound but still it comes back. I saw the surgeon again yesterday who agrees that this is very unusual but it does happen. Reading this site I think it happens more often than is realised. The decision made yesterday was to leave it alone, try and ignore it and see if it goes away on its own.Although this is very frustrating I can only go along with what he says,as a final resort further surgery has been mentioned but that in itself it not foolproof and may not solve the problem.

I would welcome any other suggestions


Is everyone elses like a small golf ball and causes the rest of the arm to be tender with limited movement especially at the top?

suzie mine is similar to yours but i don’t have limited movement and its also tender in the flabby bit that hangs over the top of the bra (niiice!!).
Andi you said yours came up after rads - was it the rads that caused it or made it worse? I’m having rads in jan and a little worried about the pain this may cause as its already sore.

Hi Pixielox

I had a seroma over the whole breast area after surgery that was drained several times and delayed my rads planning, but did eventually calm down. It started again towards the end of rads and at the time was told that some swelling is normal. Little did I know that it would still be a problem this far on.

It is now confined to an area under my arm, level with where my breast was and slightly into the breast area.Most of the time it is just uncomfortable but sometimes by bedtime it has become painful, it then eases off again while I sleep.


Hello both.

Mine is actually in the armpit itself although now I have a large dressing on it - its not appeared golf ball like yet. I’m gonna try and keep it compressed for a few days to if that helps.

Pixielox - I’m starting rads in January too so wann keep in touch and compare notes?


Suzi, would be helpful to keep in touch ta. Not had planning meeting yet but finish chemo end of dec and it seems the norm to be 3 weeks after for rads.
Andi - it doesnt seem right to leave something like that for so long if its causing pain - i can’t beleive there is nothing else they can do!! Though the surgeon i saw (not my normal one) wasn’t much help either! I plan to speak to BCN after chemo to see if they can be a little more helpful.

Both - i will keep talking to people and searching the internet so will keep posted if i find anything of use.

just read this link don,t know if you have heard of lymph drainage massage its a specialist treatment i had it and really helps also she showed me how to drain the fluid and how to keep it from building up must be qualified as can do damage if not breast care nurse best people to ask wishing you all well sheena


Thanks for this - i’d heard of it regarding lymphodema but not for a seroma so I will follow this up and report back via this post.

Thanks again,

the aching seems to have gone as i’ve been resting lots and doing very little other than sleeping (the chemo has finally taken its toll…or i could just be entering hibernation mode for winter!) Is yours hard and tender if you prod it suzi?

Just a little update on the seroma situation.

I went for chemo and mentioned my seroma to my onc - she had a prod and a poke and said it felt more like scarring from surgery and that it should’nt take more than a few weeks for it to be absorbed back into the body naturally!

Anyway she’s sending me for another U.S so will have to wait and see what that shows now.


Hey Pix.

Mine is tender like a bruise and quite firm to touch but not hard?!I’ve been using my arm as normal but being careful with it and am pleased to say it’s starting to go down v v slowly. I found some helpful hints and tips on anAmerican c website which suggested raising your arm above your heart, hand higher than shoulder for up to 15 mins - apparently this helps the drainage. Also suggested supprting arm across body above heart and opening and closing your fist say 20 times to encourage the movement of lymph fluid. I did both of these and mine started to go down the day after. This may be pure coincidence but i’ll try anything :slight_smile:

Hibernation sounds like a good plan especially with the snow.