Breast cancer surgery is generally considered safe, but as with any surgery, there are risks.
Possible problems include:
- Hematoma .A build-up of blood under your skin
- Seroma. A build-up of fluid under your skin
- Lymphedema . Swelling in the arm
- A bad reaction to anesthesia
Talk to your doctor about all these possibilities before you have your surgery. The medical staff will keep an eye out for problems while you're in the hospital. Once you’re home, you’ll need to know the symptoms of problems:
Infection. Look for redness or swelling of the incision with pus or foul-smelling drainage. You may have a fever. Usually, antibiotics can treat these infections.
Lymphedema. Look for swelling of the arm or hand on the side of the surgery. This happens to some women after the lymph nodes under the arm are removed. It may go away on its own, but you may need to see a physical or occupational therapist. Treatments may include:
- Draining the fluid
- Compression bandages to keep the swelling down
- Skin care
- Arm exercises
Seroma. You may notice swelling from a build-up of fluid at the site of the surgery. Usually, fluid is absorbed by the body. If it doesn’t go down on its own, your doctor may need to drain the area, using a needle.
If you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know right away.
Complications of Reconstructive Surgery
- Poor healing
- A leak or rupture of your breast implant
- Scar tissue around your implant
Before any surgery, your doctor should give you information about the procedure, recovery, and follow-up care. Read it over, and get all your questions answered beforehand.
When you understand the surgery and the possible complications, you’ll be better able to care for yourself and catch problems early on.