Seroma Breast: Symptoms, Causes, and Recovery

Seroma is a buildup of fluids that occurs after surgery. It’s actually known as a complication that arises after surgery.

The buildup of fluid in places where tissue has been removed in the body is known as a seroma. This is quite common when you’ve done a surgery that involves removing some tissue. It actually arises as a complication to surgery carried out. Also, this can develop when a person has an injury. One common place you would find seroma is in the breast. This is quite common after surgery has been carried out on the breast. Let’s take a closer look at what seroma breast is all about.

In many seroma cases, it’s not harmful. And they tend to heal naturally. They are not in any way related to cancer. And they do not increase your risk of having breast cancer. The thing though is that they come with some form of discomfort. And this can affect how long you will stay in the hospital even after the surgery. There are many causes of seroma breast that we’ll be looking at later on. Also, there are certain symptoms a person with seroma would experience. When it comes to dealing with seroma as well, there are certain treatment methods. Keep reading if you would love to find out more.


Breast Seroma Overview

This is a collection of fluid that looks pocket-like that forms as a result of trauma to the breast or after surgery. It could also be as a result of radiation therapy. The fluid is a serous fluid and it’s clear and pale yellow in color. This fluid is actually rich in protein. And it does not contain blood or pus.

Many times, seroma is actually reabsorbed in the body. It would just take a couple of weeks for this to happen. But there are times as well that fine-needle drainage is needed. This is important to drain out the fluid.

Breast seroma can occur as a result of the following:

  1. Mastectomy
  2. Breast biopsy surgery
  3. Breast reduction surgery
  4. Breast reconstruction surgery
  5. Plastic surgery
  6. Breast implant

Any other surgical procedure is done on the breast

Seromas are quite visible and palpable. Usually, they show up when an ultrasound or a mammogram is done. And this is commonly seen after the treatment for breast cancer.

So seromas appear about 7-10 days after having surgery. And this is after the drainage tubes have been removed. The places that were involved in the surgery would start to look swollen. And thereafter, it would feel like there is liquid right beneath the skin.


Causes and Symptoms of Seroma Breast

The exact cause of seroma is not known. But one thing that is known is that it develops after surgery has been carried out. It is also believed that seromas form as a result of the response of the body. When surgery is done, there is usually dead space. That’s a space where there was tissue before but there is no longer tissue there. The body tries to respond to this. That’s why the fluid forms.

When surgery is carried out there is damage to blood vessels and also lymph vessels around the tissue. And because of this, there’s an inflammatory response of the body. This is when the tissues and vessels start to produce the fluid.

That’s actually the reason why you experience pain and swollen breasts after the surgery.

If the surgery is done in a way that helps reduce dead space, then the risk of having seroma decreases.

There are certain risk factors that increase the risk of having seroma. They include:

  1. Breast size
  2. Age
  3. Previous biopsy surgery
  4. Body mass index
  5. Certain medications like heparin
  6. Presence of nodes that are cancerous around the armpit



So normally, it would take just a few weeks for seroma to disappear on its own. This is actually known to be the best natural healing strategy you can opt for. And the good thing is that there are no complications with this treatment method.

But there are times when waiting wouldn’t do the trick. You would have to go seek medical advice. So when should you go see a doctor:

  1. If the seroma gets bigger
  2. If the amount of fluid is increasing
  3. When it’s not improving
  4. When it’s putting too much pressure on places around the surgery site
  5. When it’s painful
  6. When there are signs of infection

Fine-needle aspiration is the treatment choice for seroma. With this, the fluid is drained properly. And the symptoms that come with seroma decrease after the aspiration. At the same time, drainage helps reduce the risk of having an infection.

After having a fine-needle aspiration make sure you take proper care of your skin. Make sure the skin over the seroma is clean. This is important so that you wouldn’t have to deal with an infection.

You can also opt for home remedies like hot compresses. Apply heat to the breast using a warm compress or heating pad. This would go a long way in reducing the pain and also speeding up the healing process.



After the surgery is done, a tight bandage is applied to the site. The dressings help keep the surgery area clean. And this makes it free from infection. At the same time, this prevents the tissues from being stretched. And this helps reduce fluid accumulation.

It’s recommended that you opt for compression garments. It’s advisable that you wear this for about 2 weeks after the completion of the surgery. Also, make sure that you massage the surgery site regularly. This helps prevent the accumulation of fluid.

It’s true that a mild buildup of fluid might occur after your surgery. But this does not imply that a seroma would come up. If the seroma forms and gets infected then it can be drained or treated with medications. This would help you make a full recovery.

Even though seromas are harmless, it’s important that you pay attention to them when you notice them. If they become really large it can lead to other complications. And that would be a lot harder for you to handle. So while they are still small and harmless do something about the seroma breast.

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