Possible problems following surgery

Once you’re home after your operation, check your wounds regularly. Tell your breast care nurse or doctor immediately if you have possible signs of infection, such as:

  • increased redness or change in colour over the breasts, around the scar areas or both
  • discharge (fluid being released) from the wounds
  • a fever (a temperature above 38°C or 100.4°F)
  • feeling generally unwell.

Your doctor can prescribe antibiotics if needed.

Bruising and bleeding

Bruising to the breast area and donor site (if you’ve had reconstruction using your own tissue) is very common after the operation. It usually goes away after about three weeks.

Sometimes, after the operation, there can be bleeding and a build-up of blood (a haematoma) in the breast or donor site. If this happens, it is most likely in the first 24 hours after surgery and can cause swelling and pain. Sometimes another operation is needed to stop the bleeding.

Fluid under the wound (seroma)

After your surgery, it’s normal for some fluid to collect in the area around the wound (a seroma). You will have drains in place to take away this fluid. These are long, thin plastic tubes attached to vacuum drainage bottles. A nurse will remove these a few days after your operation. Sometimes, after the drains are taken out, fluid builds up under the wound. This may need to be drained by a surgeon or nurse, using a small needle and syringe.

Problems after breast resconstruction

If you have had surgery to make new breast shapes, you may have other side effects depending on the type of breast reconstruction you had.

Back to Risk-reducing breast surgery

What happens after surgery?

Recovery can take some time after risk-reducing breast surgery. It will depend on the type of surgery you have had.