I Had a Mastectomy Recently with Drain Tubes That Were Removed After Several Weeks. I Still Have Fluid Retention?

My question is - would normal light exercise help my body absorb this excess fluid or should I avoid any form of exercise while my body is still healing?

Doctor Answers 6

Continued Fluid Collection after Mastectomy

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Fluid collection after mastectomy should be drained and followed closely to ensure that no infection develops.  Sometimes, these can be frustrating problems that may take weeks and weeks to resolve.  There are other things that can be done so talk to your surgeon.  In general, exercise only serves to increase fluid extravasation.

Mastectomy and fluid retention

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I think the best thing for you to do is discuss this with your surgeon because each surgeon may have a different post-op care plan.  Swelling will increase with exercise in general.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 30 reviews

Fluid Retention after Mastectomy?

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Unfortunately, exercise will not help decrease “excess fluid”. I would suggest close follow-up with your plastic surgeon who is in the best position to evaluate the location of the fluid, and whether further drainage procedures are necessary.

 Best wishes.

Fluid Collection After Surgery

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When fluid build-up may occur after surgery, plastic surgeons will often use drains. Fluid may still develop after the drain removal, but hopefully it will be absorbed by one's body. If the collection is more than the body can absorb a seroma may form and will require drainage. As always consult with your surgeon to be sure. 

Asaad H. Samra, MD
New Jersey Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

Fluid Retention

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You should see your surgeon as soon as possible to rule out any collections such as a seroma.  If you have a seroma, it will need to be aspirated before it becomes a chronic issue.  If that happens, you may need another surgical procedure.  That's why you should see your surgeon ASAP!


If it's just edema, then it will take time to improve.  Your surgeon is the best person to decide whether you just have edema or a seroma.



Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)

Asif Pirani, MD, FRCS(C)
Toronto Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

. I Still Have Fluid Retention?

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If you have collections of fluid at the sites of mastectomy, they should be aspirated or have drains placed. Exercise will not help absorb the serum that is collecting. Discuss with your surgeon. Best wishes. 

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.