Come join others currently navigating treatment in our weekly Zoom Meetup! Register here: Tuesdays, 1pm ET.
Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...
Webinar: Corrective Breast Reconstruction: Getting the Results You Want Join us July 9, 2024 at 6pm ET. Register here.

Swelling after lumpectomy and SLNB

sarahnh Member Posts: 105

Hi everyone - I am a week out from lumpectomy (about 2.5 cm plus margins) and SLNB (3 or 4 nodes).

My armpit is still a bit swollen. Just sort of generalized mild swollen-ness of the whole underarm area. It's soft, not hard, and not hot or painful (just achy if I stretch or poke at it).

Does anyone here remember whether they were swollen after SLNB, and how long it lasted?

Also, has anyone developed a seroma after SLNB, and how was it diagnosed?

TIA for any info!



Diagnosis: Mixed IDC and ILC (with DCIS and LCIS). Right breast (5 cm). Right axillary lymph nodes (several up to 1 cm).

Pathology: ER negative (0%), PR negative (0%), HER2 positive. IHC 3+ (100% of cells). FISH positive (ratio 16.1). Grade 3.

Treatment so far: TCHP (Taxotere, Carboplatin, Phesgo) 6 cycles, Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Lumpectomy (2.5 cm plus margins) and targeted SLNB (4 nodes removed included previously biopsied clipped node, isosulfan blue dye, sulfur technetium colloid radiotracer), Massachusetts General Hospital


  • piperkay
    piperkay Member Posts: 132
    edited June 2022

    I had a lot of swelling after my lumpectomy. It definitely took a while for it all to calm down. Weeks if not months. However, you always have to be on the lookout for infection, which you apparently are by your description. If you have a patient portal or something like that for communicating with your surgeon, use that if you feel like you need some more professional reassurance.

    As for the seroma question, here's what this website has to say about it:

  • sarahnh
    sarahnh Member Posts: 105
    edited June 2022

    Thanks piperkay! It sounds like it's normal to have some ongoing swelling, so I will try to be patient.

    I sent pics to my surgeon's NP, and she thinks it's a mild seroma. They say they can drain it if it becomes painful or problematic. It's slightly bigger today, but according to that link you posted, I am right in that 7-10 day post-surgery window when seromas tend to form. Ugh. I was hoping to avoid this!

    A little stressful because my surgeon is now out of town for a month.

  • sarahnh
    sarahnh Member Posts: 105
    edited July 2022

    Just to followup: By three weeks after surgery, the swelling had diminished a lot, and was completely resolved at 4 weeks. I'm five weeks out now and the only remaining "swelling" is hardness just along and under the incision.

    Posting this because when I read others' posts, I always want to know how things resolved!