Overview of Breast Serotonin

Sometimes, after trauma to the breast or surgery such as breast surgery or radiation therapy, slurry Fluid can collect in one area of ​​the breast. This is called a breast seroma.

Serum is a clear, pale yellow fluid that contains protein but no blood cells or pus. Serum is usually reabsorbed by the body within a few weeks, but fine needle drainage is sometimes required.

Seromas do not increase the risk of breast cancer, but sometimes scar tissue or calcifications form as they heal. Both of these conditions can raise concerns about future mammograms.

Read on to learn more about breast seroma symptoms, causes, and treatment.


Symptoms of a seroma usually appear one week to 10 days after trauma, biopsy, surgery, or surgical drain removal, but this can vary. Sometimes symptoms appear soon after an injury or surgery, while other times, they can become a problem weeks later.

Initially, the area may feel tender and swollen, with a clear bump and redness appearing within a day or two. The lump may feel tender and very painful.


In addition to causing pain, seromas can also increase the risk of breast infection, but this is less common. Depending on the location, it can also increase pressure on the surgical site, sometimes pulling open the incision (so-called wound split). When seromas appear shortly after surgery, they may increase your hospital stay.

When a seroma heals, it can leave scar tissue that can sometimes be difficult to distinguish from cancer on a mammogram. This can lead to false positive tests.

Seromas can also stretch the skin when present for an extended period of time, which can lead to sagging later.

development of lymphedema can also happen. This is a blockage of the lymphatic vessels, leading to a potentially uncomfortable or painful fluid buildup. Studies have shown that seromas approximately double the risk of lymphedema after breast cancer surgery.

Seroma and Breast Cancer Risk

Serotonin do not want can increase your risk of breast cancer, but they may be cause for concern because of how they appear on tests or imaging studies.


The researchers suspect that the seroma is the result of an inflammatory response associated with fluid accumulation. After surgery, they can develop on almost any part of the body.

Breast seromas are particularly common, and a 2014 study reported that six months after breast cancer surgery, computed tomography (CT) scans showed evidence of seroma in 20 percent of participants.

risk factor

Risk factors for breast seroma include:

  • Breast cancer surgery, including mastectomy (mastectomy) or lumpectomy (breast-conserving surgery)
  • Lymph node surgery, including sentinel lymph node biopsy and lymph node dissection
  • breast augmentation surgery
  • Breast reduction surgery
  • breast biopsy
  • Breast reconstruction surgery after mastectomy or lumpectomy
  • radiation therapy to the breast
  • Breast trauma, such as an injury from a car accident

While seromas can develop after any type of breast surgery or even a biopsy, only a few factors are associated with an increased risk, including the extent of the procedure (more common after a mastectomy than a mastectomy), how long the procedure takes, and how long it will take to remove it. number of lymph nodes.

Serum is more common when a surgical drain is not used, but the use of a drain does not completely eliminate the risk.

Be sure to call your healthcare provider if you develop a lump or notice a lump in your breast at any time after an event that may have caused the seroma.

What to Do With Your Drain After Breast Surgery


A breast seroma can often be felt or even seen when the breast is examined. Because they can form lumps that you can feel, they often raise concerns that the cancer has come back or wasn’t completely removed during surgery.


Ultrasound is usually the best tool for identifying seromas. Flexitank is shown as a black area. If the seroma is calcified, it will be visible on a mammogram.

Differential diagnosis

During the examination, some conditions may resemble a seroma. These include:

  • Breast hematoma: A hematoma in the breast is a collection of blood rather than serous fluid, but has similar risk factors as a seroma. In addition, seroma and hematoma may occur simultaneously.
  • Lymphocyst: A collection of lymph fluid that may look similar to a seroma.
  • Abscess: The enclosed area of ​​infection may also look similar to a seroma, although the contents are different.


Most of the time, the seroma will go away on its own over time as the body reabsorbs the fluid. The process takes about a month on average, but in some cases it can take up to a year. Seromas do not need treatment unless they are causing problems such as pain or pressure, or they are growing.

Needle Drainage

Fine needle aspiration is the method of choice for removing fluid from painful or persistent seromas. In this procedure, the skin is numbed with a local anesthetic, and then a healthcare provider inserts a thin needle through the skin into the serum to drain the fluid.

Needle aspiration increases the risk of infection, so it is important to weigh the risks and benefits of waiting versus draining the serum.

Serum builds up again after draining, so the process may need to be repeated.

Home Remedies and Therapy

Applying heat through a heating pad or warm, moist compress can help promote fluid drainage, speed up the healing process, and reduce pain.

It is also important to keep the skin covering the seroma clean, especially after fine needle aspiration.

When to call your healthcare provider

If you’ve already been diagnosed with a seroma, be sure to call if:

  • The area around the seroma becomes red or swollen
  • you notice any discharge
  • Seroma enlargement
  • You have a fever

Because seromas can increase your risk of lymphedema, it’s also important to follow any advice your healthcare provider gives you, such as avoiding blood draws and blood pressure readings on the side of your body where the breast cancer was removed.


Surgeons have been researching which surgical technique will best reduce the incidence of seroma. Electrocautery, which is used during surgery to prevent blood loss, appears to increase risk because it can cause thermal damage to tissue. The surgeon must balance the risk of seroma with the effectiveness of cautery to prevent bleeding. Two small studies, one published in 2019 And another in 2017, A certain suturing technique was shown to minimize seroma formation.

Several clinical trials have looked at the use of a low-thrombin fibrin sealant after lymph node surgery in breast cancer, and at one point it was thought to reduce the risk of seroma. However, a 2017 study did not find that this approach helped reduce seromas, although it was associated with shorter hospital stays.

surgical drainage tube

Surgical drains (closed suction drains) can reduce the risk of seroma formation, but they can also increase the risk of infection if left in place for a long time. Many surgeons make the mistake of not removing the drain too quickly after surgery.

shoulder movement

Early movement of the shoulder may increase the risk of seroma formation, but so does delayed movement. It is important to discuss advice about exercise after surgery with your surgeon.


Compression bandages used to be often used to prevent seromas, but this practice is less common now. Still, patients are generally encouraged to wear tight bras or other clothing after surgery.


If you have breast cancer, the most difficult part of dealing with a seroma may be worrying that it will cause the cancer to come back. Checking for a lump right away can help you relax and spot any recurrences quickly.

If you have a painful seroma, it may make it difficult to wear a bra. You may want to try different fit and tightness to see which is most comfortable.

Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you find that the seroma is causing you physical or emotional problems.


Breast seromas are pockets of serous fluid and are usually nothing to worry about. They do not increase the risk of breast cancer. While many resolve on their own, there are treatments available if one does not. These include fine needle aspiration and heating at home. If you have a seroma and it doesn’t go away or is causing you pain, talk with your healthcare provider about what to do.

While many seromas resolve on their own and are easy to treat if left untreated, they can cause pain and severe anxiety at a time when many people are already apprehensive. Prevention is the best treatment when possible, and it is important to discuss with your healthcare provider her recommendations for postoperative exercise and drainage and the reasons behind them.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How do you make a seroma go away?

    If the seroma does not go away on its own, it can be treated with fine needle aspiration. The procedure numbs the affected area and uses a very fine needle to drain the fluid from the serum. If seroma fluid reappears, multiple appointments may need to be scheduled. Using a heating pad or warm moist compress after draining can help with recovery and pain management.

  • What happens if the seroma is not treated?

    If the seroma doesn’t go away on its own (which can take a year or more), it can become infected. However, if it’s not causing problems, it’s usually nothing to worry about. If it doesn’t seem to resolve, talk to your healthcare provider.

  • Are seromas common after breast augmentation?

    Seromas may develop after breast surgery, including breast augmentation. A variety of factors may play a role, such as the extent and duration of surgery. Before surgery, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to reduce the risk of seroma formation, including how to move your shoulder after surgery. Some delay in physical therapy after surgery is said to reduce the risk of seroma formation.