Will my doctor have to do needle aspirations on my mastectomy forever?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 21, 2016
Sandrarna asked...

I underwent a left radical mastectomy for stage 2B invasive carcinoma one year ago. I continue to have a build up of fluid in this breast. My surgeon refers to this as a seroma and has had to do repeated needle aspirations. Does anyone have information or had experience with this problem? Any help would be appreciated.

Expert Answers

Linda Ackerman, R.N. has clinical experience in oncology, women's health, and medical nursing. She has been practicing for more than 20 years and is a licensed registered nurse in both Florida and Wisconsin. In addition, she serves as a board member of Breast Cancer Recovery and the Wisconsin Cancer Council.

Seroma is a build-up of clear bodily fluid that can appear in a place on your body where tissue has been removed by surgery.

Seroma is one of the complications that can occur after surgery and much of the time reabsorbs back into your body within a month to a year after surgery. If the fluid does not reabsorb, then other methods are needed to decrease the fluid.

You stated that it has been a year since your surgery; you may want to approach your surgeon with more specific questions in regards to what he/she thinks the ongoing treatment plan will be long term.

For example, questions such as these may be helpful.

Will the time between needle aspirations lengthen?

What is the ongoing risk of infection?

Does he or she have any other suggestions regarding other treatment options?

Lastly, you may also want to ask your surgeon or oncologist for a referral to make an appointment to see an occupational therapist or a physical therapist ( some specialize in treating post breast surgery patients ) to evaluate your personal unique situation.