Fluid build-up normal years after surgery?

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Question from Momof2: My friend had a lumpectomy 15 years ago. Recently she has been having fluid in the area where the lump was removed. Her doctor drained the site and removed scar tissue. The fluid returns within days. Is this normal? She is concerned that it fills up again and again. Her mammograms are fine and there is no pain. The doctor says not to be concerned but she is.
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. Fluid accumulation or seroma is common immediately after lumpectomy, and can take up to a year or longer to resolve or be absorbed by the body. It's unusual to see fluid accumulate many years after surgery, and sometimes the doctor will drain fluid and even send the fluid for pathology evaluation. If the tissue has been re-excised, she can expect new fluid accumulation due to the recent surgery. Sometimes in this scenario, MRI is helpful to reassure the patient that it's all benign, post-operative changes.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called After Surgery: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects featured Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Linda Miller, P.T. answering your questions about short-term and long-term side effects of breast surgery, and what you can do about them.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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