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Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

45 REPLIES 45
Ltshaw
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Good morning Seabreeze

Thanks, I am going to email my consultants and see if they have recommendations for Physio- you are on it! Have a lovely Sunday and again thanks for your reply🌼

Seabreeze
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi LTshaw,

Pleased if that helped spark further ideas.

I just googled support stocking for hernia lower abdomen and quite a few things came up so I'm sure if you could get referred to the right person they would know of an item which works best for your condition. There must be something out there which acts as an appropriate support band. I really hope you find it!

PS would physiotherapy help re strengthening other muscles, what to do/not to do etc? Might be worth discussing with hospital team and GP?

X Seabreeze

Ltshaw
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Sea breeze 

thanks for replying , it is a great idea and despite buying highly expensive support pants I’ve found a swimming costume helps a lot - seems to even the load all out! 
I just spoke to a wonderful woman on the support line ( hey I made a pun!) and feel so much better Thank you.

I’m going to email my surgeons with all those questions you don’t ask at the time !  And contact the incontinence nurse for help with retaining the control I have. 


Take care 🌼

 

 

 

Seabreeze
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi LTshaw,

I'm not familiar with the details of this type of procedure or the complication which has occurred...just very sorry you have found yourself in this situation.

I just wondered if any type of external support item could be worn, thinking some sort of part body stocking, or the fabric used for support tights etc. Might be a bonkers idea but have you asked your medical team if anything external could assist (and be safe)? 

X sending hugs

Seabreeze

 

 

 

Ltshaw
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

P.s

I also wanted to say that it feels like soup one minute and a rugby ball the next ( it’s also that size!) Also that’s my intestines running free.. surely that’s not a good thing in terms of bodily function?but jst been left to get on with it ...

Take care 🌼

Ltshaw
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi

i had a failed DIEP operation ( couldn’t get theBp up enough) which turned into a Free TRAM in 2015,  with immediate breast reconstruction 

In 2020 I noticed a bulge that grew and grew! Last month I got told that it was inoperable as the remaining  muscle has died on that side (donor site) and the gap they would need to bridge across the muscles is more than10.5cm ...

So my bulge has added about 20cm to my circumference which is really pronounced when moving from laying to sitting - it looks like one side is flat and the other raises up like it’s own separate pregnancy! Gone up several sizes despite losing weight.

But on the best positive ever i am 5 years clear 👍💖 

I think what’s difficult for me is mainly -the impact of this on daily living, there’s ongoing pain, the immediate need to go to the loo and the not knowing if I am gonna keep growing.. which seems minor when everyone is going through so much and fighting to beat cancer. 

I researched my surgery extensively before treatment especially complications and I would like to suggest a change of name from “Abdominal bulge” which maybe a descriptor but does not indicate how severe this is... my whole physicality and function are affected and no resolution available. My surgeon advised against more ops as he felt “It could cause more probs down the line” He also said we are just seeing the true complications of TRAM surgery. 

It’s a long post but there just seems to be so little info available that I wanted to share. 🌼

 

Prayerfullyhopeful
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Well my results turned out different I went for a colonoscopy and an endoscopy today and my doctor said that I could possibly have a hiatal hernia I will be able to confirm it Monday because I'm having a CT scan with contrast and they're supposed to let me know something but so far that's what they say my bump is I pray everybody figures out what theirs is

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Checkyourbreasts, 

My seroma was only found after I had a full body scan when a primary was found in my second breast. Up till then I was completely fobbed off. My seroma appeared within 6 weeks of the original operation.

I then researched “seroma after abdominal surgery” and I found its a fairly common side effect. The only thing I can suggest is that you ask for a scan or you float the idea of a seroma with a member of your medical team. 
Good luck.

CheckYourBoobs
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

What were your test results?  I had mastectomy and TRAM flat reconstruction on April 6, 2020.  Then revision surgery on August 3rd.  About a month after the August surgery my belly became hard and bloated.  Like a bowling ball.  My doctor says it is IBS but my only symptom is bloated belly.  Still having regular bowel movements and there is really no pain.  I wake up not as bloated then as the day goes on, whether I eat or not, the belly bloats.

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience. 

Prayerfullyhopeful
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Thank you for the information and I will be asking my doctor about it cuz I go on Monday and I will make sure that I talk to her and see what I need to do to alleviate this symptom that they didn't tell me I would have thank you again so much and I'll be praying that anybody that read this do same and be rid of it for once and for all

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Sorry for any confusion. Abdominal swelling may have multiple causes as listed by Bookish. I am not a medic so don’t know.

Mine was the result of abdominal reconstruction taken from my tummy and tunnelled up to my breast. Not standard mastectomy. 

I started this thread back in 2013/4 so there have been lots of views and posts since then.

Lots of swelling but few if any, caused by pedicle tram recon.

After eight years in the system and with an excellent BCN I would always use her as my first port of call. She has a direct line to the surgeons and the whole BC team. 

Good Luck everyone and a swift recovery. Life is full and good post cancer and treatment.

Exercise is a major key to recovery, in my opinion, and for me that has brought many unexpected benefits. 

bookish
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Oooh! I did not know about this. Had breast op 4 weeks ago, and I've been putting the tummy bloat down to all the things already mentioned - painkillers, lack of movement, the fact that my boobs aren't blocking the view, etc etc. But it does seem just that bit more than those would explain.

So... consensus seems to be to talk to either GP or BCN, it won't just settle on its own?

Yet another thing to add to the list of 'why don't they forewarn you about these things'??

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

My seroma was only diagnosed after a scan. 
Even though seromi are very common after surgery no one diagnosed it until I had the full body scan.

Go back to your doctor and ask for a scan that will show up fluid.

Good luck and persevere it is your body and you that needs to live with it.

7 years on I feel great. 
good luck

Prayerfullyhopeful
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Side Effects (Stomach distended and hard and will Not go away): I just had a bilateral mastectomy on the 29th of April 2020 and my drain stayed in for about 4 weeks but after I was able to move around I noticed that my stomach was like really hard and round exceptionally round like a beer gut and I was thinking it was because I didn't have breast anymore but it's not that, it is still that way now and I supposedly been able to go back to work 6th June and it has not left and I have lost the weight not a lot but I have lost the weight but that stomach is still hard and still be big like I'm pregnant and it's very upsetting and I've asked about it at my doctor and nobody is able to tell me so I'm having a colonoscopy in a few weeks and I asked for an endoscopy to see if it's something in there if someone finds out any information please let me know cuz I will tell you the results of my endoscopy if they find anything I'm going to ask the gastroenterologist about it, good luck ladies is all I can say and I didn't have the reconstructive surgery because I had breast cancer before and I had radiation and they told me that on that particular side I was not going to be eligible for it because my skin would not stretch anymore, but if anybody knows anything please put it on here so I can read it thanks and I'm praying for us all to figure out how we can Live with this new shape of our body that I don't think you're not supposed to have

jcinhp
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Thanks and you are absolutely right! I will call tomorrow! Funny how simple but just needed to hear someone else say “go get it checked!”

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Why would you not won’t to go back to your doctor?
It could be a seroma

Either a hematoma or a seroma need draining.

Mine went undiagnosed, even though they are very common, and meant I needed another operation to remove it. My stomach from pelvis to breast had to be ‘quilted’ inside to prevent another seroma forming.

Six years later I have a perfectly flat stomach but can still feel a pull. But it doesn’t worry me and although occasionally uncomfortable it doesn’t hurt.

Good Luck and return to your doctor and get it diagnosed and sorted.

jcinhp
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

today I am 10 weeks out from my DIEP  surgery. My belly  swells and goes down. However,  it’s more swollen on one side and  I am experiencing  pain. It’s not just discomfort- as we all know how uncomfortable the tightness can be!  Is there anyway to tell if this is a hematoma or—something other than normal —-without going back to the doctor? 

Betsygage
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I hear you. Me too. Frustrating trying to buy clothes that don’t make me look pregnant.

Betsygage
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

 

I was always fairly lean until my DMX in 2017.

Now I look like I’m six months pregnant. I know part of it is my posture and I am seeing a PT to pull my shoulders back and strengthen my core. I am also really having a hard time losing 15 pounds which I need to do. I never had trouble doing that either before all this. Is it all connected?

j2024
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi there, 

 

I am new on this site and have been trawling for information. 

I had a mastectomy and few lymph nodes removal nearly 7 weeks ago and have exactly the same symptoms you have described. None of my clothes fit me and I know I haven't suddenly put on so much weight to make me look 6 months pregnant! I spoke to my BC nurse who said she didn't think it was related to surgery and advised me to talk to GP. GP has suggested that it is related to my surgery ( I wasn't like this prior) and to get the area scanned.

I am just wondering what was the outcome for you? Did you get it sorted ? 

 

Thanks J.

senior1949
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I had left mastectomy and few lymph nodes...left side bloating/swelling...4 months post op
NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Please contact your surgeon or breast nurse. This could be fluid and needs to be sorted. We mustn’t just accept.

it took me a year to have my abdominal swell to be identified but when it was I was told it was a common side effect.

You May ask why if it is ‘common’ why it wasn’t immediately diagnosed. 

I have no answer but mine was a seroma and had to be surgically remove as it was left so long.

 

I found the breast nurses the most useful and approachable.

 

good luck and don’t let age be an issue.

 

AudreyB
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I had my op on both breasts on the Thursday and my drains were taken out on the Saturday. I am huge, I have had four children and I didn't get this big in my abdominal area. I am a very small frame and I am 74 all most 75 years of age. I look like a freak. Please tell me it will go away. I am so relieved that I have found this group and that I am not alone with this problem!
musiclady_SA
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

This is what I want to know,too. The CT scan revealed nothing untoward, except that my abdominal wall is minus muscle that was used for boob reconstruction
musiclady_SA
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I've just had a CT scan. No hernia. They just say that because muscle has been removed from my abdomen, the abdominal wall is very thin, so there is not much support. So is that it? Do I now walk around in constant discomfort, looking 4 months pregnant? There was nothing wrong with my tummy before this op!! Sooo frustrating.
musiclady_SA
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

How long was your tummy swollen for? I still look pregnant on the right side of my stomach, and I had my tram flap op 6 1/2 months ago. Sooooo frustrating. Is there anything we can do to make the swelling go down? And

does it eventually go down? I had a CT scan yesterday. No evidence of any liquid to drain out. Jusdt a very thin abdominal wall because muscle has been removed.

Treeze
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

There's evanmarcus again appearing on the forum with slightly odd remarks..
Kimosabee
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I have had that abdominal swelling as well. Hard to feel good about oneself when you look 8 months pregnant. Ugh.
jillybee
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Following bilateral Mx I had failed implants and was completely flat.My tummy appeared to be really fat,as wasn't balanced out.

however,had a DIEP and ended up with seroma in the abdomen,which capsulated,and removed surgically.Consequently I ended up with scar tissue and a protruding tummy.

if you haven't had surgery,it may be a hernia....maybe ask for an ultrasound?Doesnt sound normal.....hard to move forward after BC....💞

evanmarcus
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I think you must consult a doctor on this as they can suggest you something after propec checkups and test reports. Most of the people faces problem after surgeries but then you must be really cautious about all these problems.

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi BK,

I woud look at your lymph system as the areas you have highlighted sound like the main lymph drainage areas.

Try to get a lymphadema clinic referral as knowing the correct way to massage the lymph system is very important.

Don't leave it to get better on its own as the longer the fluid is there the harder it seems to get rid of it.

I have found the vibration on a cycle track is very good.

Good luck for the future. N 

Bk
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Any improvement since 2013?
Bk
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I am one of the lucky ones.  At age 65, I am 11 days post op after a simple left breast mastectomy.  Drain was removed on day six, and I have been taking my normal walk each day since day 7 (3-4 miles each day).  I have only taken one pain pill since my surgery, and that was on the first day.  My bowel habits have returned to normal, but I also have torso bloat/swelling that is quite uncomfortable.  Anyone seeing me would assume that I am six months pregnant.  The swelling is in the left breast and side, naturally, but also in the groin area, upper and lower abdomen, and across my back by my shoulder blades.  No swelling in my extremities.  After researching this phenomenon online, I think that it must be due to the antibiotic I will finish today.  I've read that some antibiotics can kill the natural bacteria that the body needs to help process food as it passes through the system.  I am on Cefadroxil, which does make me nauseous if I take it on an empty stomach.  Since I cannot blame this on lack of exercise, constipation, cancer spread, etc., I guess I will be patient and wait for the medication to work itself out of my system to see if things improve! 

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Muellers

My abdominal swelling was caused by reconstruction where they lifted the skin from lower belly to boob. I was told it was a muscle bulge until I had a CT scan that showed it was a seroma by then it was well established and couldn't be drained so I needed a second operation to remove it. 

You have had a post op ct so if it was a seroma they should have been able to see the fluid. You have had a double mx but don't say you have been reconstructed, so no tummy interference. 

I find that trawling the Internet expecially the US sites can throw up some useful information but you do need to read it with care. I have recently found recorded medical lectures on You Tube that I have found helpful. 

Over my 5 years of treatment I have found that you need to be proactive with your treatment and my doctors have been very receptive to answering questions. My breastcare nurse have also been a great source of help and support. 

I don't suppose that this has helped you a lot but I hope it has maybe pointed you in a direction that will help you to find a way out yourself.

The one constant in my treatment has been walking it is free and the very best exercise. It stimulates the main lymph drainage areas, in you tummy, back and groin. 

If I had a bulge now I look at the lymphatic system.

I hope I have give you some ideas. Wishing you the very best.

Nette 

muellers99
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

All, I am 5 weeks post double MX and have the belly swelling you describe.  I have had CT scan, Xrays and blood tests and all are normal.  I am 49 yrs old and have to wear my husbands clothes because I cannot fit my belly into mine.  My care team says they have never seen this but obviously others have had it.  Does it go away?

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Everyone
How are you all doing?
I am home again after my double op. After a horrid meeting with my surgeon's senior registrar who spent ages telling me about everything that could go wrong and the %odds then saying that the odds don't matter if you are the one. I was in tears and decided not to sign the consent form until after my CT scan that was meant to show how compromised my tummy area was. Then my surgeon saw me and said I was not to worry and that it had to be done. So into the theatre I went. Because I have had shoulder problems since my previous mx with recon they took me into the main theatre and put me on the table made sure my arms were comfortable before putting me under. They also gave my anesthetic in my foot to avoid my node cleared arm. All went well and I feel great.
I have come home with two hip and drains but they seem to be reducing output well and the reduced bust looks good and looks like it might be a 'b' cup down from a big 'd'. I will be able to tell better in a few weeks when the swelling has gone down.
So after months of worry and fears I am feeling so light. 6 weeks recovery and I am going to get my life back.
I will need all new breast gear. Swim suit, protheses, bras. I am going to ring a couple of suppliers and see if they will give me a discount.
I think others have been in hospital this week I hope you have all got on as well as me. Those on heceptin I think you are all getting to your last dose.
Go girls we are EPIC.
A very buoyant NETTE
NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

I am due to have my seroma surgical removed on Tuesday 22 July.
Did everyone get there tummy bulges diagnosed and sorted out.
For everyone a scan, definitely CT, but possibly other types of scan as well, will show up the composition of your bumps.
All the best
Nette
jrgles
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

My mom is experiencing the same thing - visible abdominal distension, that has persisted almost 5 weeks after her surgery.

 

Did this swelling resolve for anyone?  Did any of you get a diagnosis?  (doctors are currently evaluating my mom for other causes,  including ovarian cancer)

 

Hope you all are feeling better!

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Beeny
Have you had any luck solving the reason for your since we last contacted.
I go to see my surgeon tomorrow to find out when he will drain. Hopefully before Christmas.
Nette x
NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Anna,
I am currently having Chemotherapy an they will not treat the seroma until it has finished.
My understanding is that they will scan it and then drain the fluid off. It should be simple and straight forward.
Over my journey I have found you have tofind your own answers and take them to the doctors and they will then respond. At least it gets them thinking.
Try not to worry, about other cancers I think it would be very rare. Speak to your breast nurse you are definitly not alone in you fears.
Good luck Nette x
Beeny
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Nette, thank you so much for that - I'll certainly get it checked out.  Did they do anything to reduce the seroma?  I'm afraid that I've turned a bit psycho since my diagnosis and was fairly sure my bulge was either pancreatic or peritoneal cancer tumours.  Sigh.  I think paranoid hyperchondriac is a pretty good label for me right now!  

 

So, any treatment, or have they just said that it will go on its own eventually?

 

Thanks again,

 

Anna xx

NetteW
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Beeny,
I had I mx with immediate reconstruction last June. I have what the surgeon called a bulge and I have it in writting as fat and muscle. I have recently had a CT scan and guess what they found. A seroma. A pocket of fluid. This is very common after an operations tgat is why they fit drains, but no one consider this when looking at the bulge. There are a lot of very red faces from my surgeon to breast nurse to gp.
I is worth asking the question.
Hope this helps.
Nette x
Witchypoo
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

so glad it's not just me!!!!  I had my mx last December and unless I wear my prosthesis I look pregnant - not a good look LOL x

Beeny
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi, thank you for responding. I didn't have recon, and don't bother to wear my prosthesis much either, but my big hard upper tummy still protrudes further than my E/F cup boobs!  It's handy to rest things on, I guess!

poemsgalore
Member

Re: Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi Beeny,

 

May I ask if you had reconstruction after your mx? I had my mastectomy last December - no recon -  and since then, my stomach on mx side looks like I'm pregnant too.  As I'm 62, this would be impossible and I'm very definitely post menopausal.  I'd put it down to the fact that now the boob has gone, I can see this side of my stomach - but not the other, where I still have a boob. I don't tend to wear my prosthesis in my bra, but have noticed that when I do, my tummy disappears just like the non-mx side. I have very skinny legs and arms, but this huge stomach bulging out!!! Of course, I could just be obese in that area. Woman Frustrated

 

best wishes

 

poemsgalore xx

Beeny
Member

Abdominal swelling after surgery - has anyone else had this?

Hi, I had my mastectomy in April, and ever since the op I've had upper abdominal swelling.  It's like I'm 8 months pregnant!  I'm not tiny but I've never had such a big upper tummy!  I've lost nearly a stone since the op, and have been going to the gym three times a week.  I've lost 2 inches off each thigh and can't keep my trousers up, but my upper tummy just stays distended.

 

Has anyone else had this?  My GP doesn't seem bothered, and my BCN says it will 'probably go away'.  I'm 48 and apparently not peri-menopausal.  Any ideas?

 

Thanks people, and I hope you're all doing ok.