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Topic: fluid filled "lumps" on back

Forum: Breast Reconstruction — Is it right for you? Discuss timing and various procedures and techniques.

Posted on: Jul 31, 2008 08:17PM

mayme99 wrote:

I had a BM 3 wks ago - no drains and the PS put 100 cc in each tissue expander at the time of surgery and also at 2 weeks and 3 weeks.  At both at the 2 week and 3 week appts. he aspirated a lot of fluid off the breasts due to swelling.  Sometime in between week 2 & 3 I developed a fist sized pocket of fluid on the right side of my upper back.  The PS felt it was a lipoma and unrelated to the surgery, tissue expanders or DCIS.  I've since developed a second pocket or "lump" on the left upper side of my back.  Because I have never had problems like this before, I sense it is somehow related to the BM & tissue expansion process.  Has anyone else experienced anything like this and, if so, what was said to be the cause & how was it treated?  The lumps are not painful but it is a bit uncomfortable to lie down on them.  Thanks for any responses. 

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Jul 31, 2008 08:33PM ehall wrote:

Wow--no drains!  I will let others chime in but that seems very unusual after a BM.  Based on the little that I know--I think the pockets of fluid are directly related to the lack of drains. The primary purpose of drains is to prevent the pooling of fluid and remove it from your body to prevent what's occuring as well as possible infections.  I would seriously question this.  Other thoughts? 

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Jul 31, 2008 08:43PM TenderIsOurMight wrote:

Fluid will go the path of least resistance, so in addition to the space created by the mastectomies (wow, no drains!) fluid may seep laterally across the armpit and towards our shoulder blade area in the back.
I had this happen post mastectomy and while the seroma of the chest wall was aspirated, it took massage and time from the back area to re-absorb.   Sounds like seroma fluid to me too. A LE specialist may be able to help if the surgeon won't image and aspirate.   Best of luck,  Tender 
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that treatment of each patient is a highly individualized matter. (FDA-approved labeling for warfarin (Coumadin) NDA 9-218/5-105)
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Aug 1, 2008 12:23AM - edited Aug 1, 2008 12:26AM by mayme99

Thanks so much for your replies.  What a great forum this is. 

Ehall: I am kind of stumped by not having drains too.  I was told before the surgery that I would have drains.  After the surgery, I just got a curt answer that they weren't needed.  Not so sure of that now...

Tender: I have a couple questions for you: 1) What is a LE specialist?  and 2) how much time did it take with massage and re-absorbing for your situation to resolve?  Also, you sound very knowledgable.  Do you have medical training?

Thanks to you both,


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Aug 1, 2008 04:30PM - edited Aug 1, 2008 04:31PM by Binney4

Hi, Mayme,

A LE therapist means a lymphedema therapist. That is someone with at least 135 hours of specifically lymphedema training beyond their PT or OT certification, and preferably at least a year's experience treating lymphedema. But because these qualifications are not enforced by legislation in any state you should call and make sure before seeing any therapist for this. (In lymphedema massage direction, pressure and order of movements are very important, so an in-depth understanding of the lymph system is required.) To see a lymphedema therapist you'll need a referral from any member of your healthcare team. If you need help finding one who's qualified near you, follow the links at this Therapist Locator: www.mylymphedema.com.

The reason Tender suggested a lymphedema therapist in particular is not because this is lymphedema, but because a well-trained lymphedema therapist is the medical specialist who knows how to move lymph fluid. But all of us who have been treated for breast cancer are at risk for lymphedema. So while you're there, have him/her measure your arms as a baseline for future reference, teach you a prophylactic lymphedema massage, give you some hints about reducing your lymphedema risk, and fit you for a glove and sleeve to be worn when traveling or exercising, to reduce your risk. Smile Win/win!

Be well!


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