Seroma fluid build up

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Hi. I had a bilateral masectomy with all lymph nodes removed on left and a SNLB on right last Tuesday. Excessive build up of seroma particularly under armpits. Felt like I had a couple of water bombs attached to me. Although my surgeon advised this was a possibility, I had no real notion of what was involved. I was in a lot of pain and not really able to sleep. I called my breast nurse and she said to come in to hospital on Tuesday for them to review. On Sunday things had got so bad I called NHS 24 and long story short I had the fluid drained today. 750ml was removed from the left side and 450ml from the right so that's well over a litre and that wasn't all of it. The process was painless and my nurse was so gentle and kind. I felt great initially but as the day has progressed my chest has gotten painful and the fluid is building back up again which is really depressing as they won't drain more than once a week. I really just wondered if anyone has any helpful tips for how to live with this. I've been told it can be weeks or even months before this gets better.  I can feel myself slipping into a black hole as I still have the possibility of radiotherapy and chemo to get through as well. Any advice would be greatfully received. 

  • Hi Twicehit welcome to the  forum and i am so very sorry to hear about what is happening for you. Im surprised that they havent just put drains in and left them for you as this will likely need continual draining by the sounds of things. Was that your breast team that drained that for you or not? If not maybe get in touch with them and let them know about this as they may be able to insert drains for you enabling continual drainage and eliminate the need for continual manual draining. They may be somewhat reluctant with the drains as any further trauma in these areas can result in more of a build up and introduce infection hence why they may be reluctant. 

    Try and keep out of the black hole as we are here for you every step of the way and will here to help and support you as best we can.


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  • Hi, sorry to read this. Exactly the same happened to me. I did have a drain put in, but they can only stay in for about five days. My first aspiration (completely painless as you say) was 900ml. A week later is was 600ml, and a week after that it was about 350ml. But at that point, I was awaiting a radiotherapy planning appointment, and so my aspiration was carried out by a fantastic registrar, with a nurse assisting. She told me that the fluid was now in pockets, so she had to aspirate each pocket. She was meticulous. After that, it never came back. My second mastectomy (for symmetry) did not have a drain. I developed a seroma again, but not as large - 650ml this time. It filled again quickly, but because I wasn’t having radiotherapy that time, I was more relaxed about it, and about two weeks later it dispersed by itself. 
    I know it can be very uncomfortable, so do give them a ring again in a week. Xx

  • Hi. Thanks for those words of encouragement. I found the 1st 3 weeks after my masectomy awful and didn't really understand fully what the seroma was all about. I'm a bit more comfortable with it now but have to say at week 5 I'm still needing aspirated. I'm due to start chemo soon and they said that I won't be able to be aspirated while I'm getting chemo. This worries me because on my left side where my lymph nodes were removed the seroma makes it look as tho I still have my DD boobs. I'm concerned about what that's doing to my skin as I don't want to be left with sagging skin or to have to get more surgery if the seroma doesn't get reabsorbed.  So much to try to get your heD round and I haven't even started to think about the impact of chemo. And that's to last 5mths. Totally overwhelmed 

  • I’m currently going through a seroma and it’s awful I can’t stop crying. It’s not painful but very uncomfortable. Walking around like a t pot.!! Been 2 weeks now. Seeing BCN in a few days but not sure if I should go b4 that. I really get that black hole feeling at the moment and feeling helpless 

  • Hi epic1sorry to hear that your seroma is causing such distress I was fortunate to have a drain for 6 days in all it drained 900 mils before it was removed I still had a slight seroma but is manageable on day 12 I think though yours need drainage by needle by the BCN try giving them a call explaining your distress I’m sure they can help you sooner take one step at a time try not to overwhelm yourself hugs x

  • This is so interesting

    Im Day 1 post second lumpectomy and my breast is huge and hard. Nurse says probably Seroma. Don’t know if because it’s so if she’ll tell me to sit it out. Don’t mind it if it’s for a week or so but panicing it’ll be here for months. Don’t know if it’ll affect treatment

    is there anything one can do at home??

    did anyone try nurofen?? 


  • Mine burst on its own about 3 weeks after surgery. It leaked through the wound and was a huge relief ! . I took painkillers and put a heat pack on it a few times a day . They do tell you to try and sit it out if you can and your body will absorb it.