Seroma is the accumulation of fluids in a spot where a former tissue was removed. They are usually post-surgery complications and harmless in most known cases. Seromas are left to heal by itself naturally. Seroma breast implant complications are unrelated to cancerous cells and do not pose any concern or risks, however, there might be some discomfort and the need for you to spend more time at the hospital after the surgery. One research involving 158 participants discovered that 35% percent of breast cancer patients experienced seroma after their surgery. Another 20% were discovered to have seroma six-month post-surgery.
We are yet to know what exactly causes seromas but since they most commonly occur in the breasts of women who underwent a surgical procedure like having an implant, such procedures are now established causes of seromas. Other procedures include breast reduction, breast cancer surgery, breast biopsy, cosmetic or plastic surgery, plastic reconstructive surgery. Seroma forms as a response of the body to surgically created dead spaces in tissues. Seromas are expected to occur in areas where the skin breaks off or after some surgical procedures.
Seroma Breast Implant Risk Factors
The chances of developing seroma increase with:
- Breast size
- Past biopsy surgery
- Body mass
- Tamoxifen or heparin drug use
- Presence of cancerous armpits nodes.
How They Develop
Seroma most time would show up seven to ten days post-surgery after the drainage tubes inserted are taken out. Swollen spots may appear on the areas tampered with during surgery. Surgical procedures can damage the lymph and blood vessels in surrounding tissues causing inflammation and the severed tissues and vessels may produce some clear fluid.
This is the reason behind swelling and pain after surgery. Sometimes this formed fluid leads to seroma formation. A good way to reduce or prevent seroma will be for surgeries to be done in such a manner as to limit dead spaces.
Seromas are fond of forming lumps underneath the skin with yellow or white fluid in it. The fluid is known as the serous fluid and is the same as that found in fresh cuts and blisters. Some doctors would like to treat these lumps to see if they contain blood, pus, serous, or another fluid.
Similar Seroma Conditions
Certain conditions are similar to a seroma, they include;
- Hematoma: This is the accumulation of blood rather than the fluid in some dead space. And it is generally brought about by the leaking of a blood vessel during the surgery recovery process. Hematomas are to be drained as they cause serious pain, scarring, and infection.
- Lymphoceles: This describes and abnormal lymphatic fluid accumulation after surgery.
- Abscess: This is the painful accumulation of usually from bacterial infections. Pus contains dead tissues, white blood cells, and germs in its thick fluid. Most times abscesses are formed underneath the skin but may also appear inside one’s body.
Most of the time you don’t have to bother about seroma as they heal naturally. The body simply reabsorbs the accumulated fluid within four weeks, although in some cases it can go on for twelve months.
If seroma is taking too long to heal or have formed into a capsule they may be removed surgically. Hardening of skin around the area we=here a seroma formerly occupies is normal. You may apply heat thereto hasten to heal. A hot compress or heating pad may also be used at fifteen minutes intervals. This will help the fluid drainage at the same time supplying additional comfort to the area that was incised.
Make sure the heat applied is not very high and your compress should not be left for long. Excess heat may cause the fluid to accumulate even more. You can also try keeping that area elevated to improve drainage.
When To Consult A Doctor
Leaving seroma to go on its own is usually the best approach but this is only advised when there are no complications. If after a while there is no improvement and there is worsening of the symptoms then you should consult your doctor.
The seroma may be medically drained if;
- It keeps getting bigger
- The fluid is increasing
- There is no improvement
- It is causing too much pressure on surgical or area of injury
- It causes pain
- There are noticeable infection signs like warmth, tenderness or redness
Seromas sometimes increase the risk of surgical infections hence careful monitoring is advised. Depending on how serious the case may be, the doctor may drain a seroma once or twice every week.
Seroma can be treated through fine needle aspiration. This process just lives the name implies involves using a needle to drain the affected area. Fluid leakage volume can also be monitored here. However, if seroma recurs frequently then it would have to get drained more often and an option is to insert a tube for drainage.
Drainage increases infection risk and must be done in a sanitized environment and by a skilled professional. Prolonged drainage also increases infection risk and may delay the healing process.
For some patients leaving the seroma to fend for itself would be the best option. But doctors of cancer patients worry that seroma may delay further cancer treatment. Doctors now consider seroma as a post-surgery effect rather than as a complication. But not all surgery patients experience seromas.
Typically, seroma appears after surgery if no drainage is done. It can persist for four weeks after the surgery drains removal. Though seroma has been widely accepted as a common surgery side effect there are still some precautionary measures that can be taken to prevent it from forming.
Seroma breast implant side effects may be prevented by placing in closed drainage for a good number of days after surgery. There are some other new techniques aimed at reducing or preventing dead spaces from occurring.