Some physicians avoid ice packs for postmastectomy swelling, but I find cold packs in the axilla are comforting, and relieve pain and swelling without compromising blood supply. The breast flaps are more vulnerable to blood supply problems so I wound not use cold on the chest wall. Since your sensation may be abnormal, make sure the packs are not too cold nor kept on the skin for too long - 10 minute intervals are generally safe and soothing. Swelling in the axilla may be due to fluid accumulation which may be aspirated or likely will resolve with time. Are your drains still in? if so they may not be draining the axilla well. If the swelling is associated with pain, a hard mass or redness, or enlarging, consult your doctor immediately to rule out a hematoma (bleeding) or infection. Good luck and take care.
I had a double mastectomy a week ago. I have swelling under my arms. Should I use an ice pack to relieve the swelling?
Doctor Answers 4
Ice pack after mastectomy
Swelling under arms
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