- Question from Blonde: I had a lumpectomy back in February and the area to the left of the incision is still hard where they injected the dye for a lymph node biopsy. Is this normal? The surgeon says it is but it really bugs me.
- Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. There are different dyes that are used to map for sentinel nodes. The most common is isosulfan blue, which tends to stain or tattoo the skin but does not cause hardness. Some surgeons will use methylene blue, which has been known to create some reaction in the breast tissue called fat necrosis. This tends to resorb over time, but takes months or even years. Sometimes massage can help, and I would encourage you to talk to your surgeon about the cause of the hardness, whether it's related to injection or just simply scar tissue and what you can do to soften that up. Again, hardness at the lumpectomy site is common and expected soon after surgery and takes months to soften.
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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