Seroma formation after surgery for breast cancer

World J Surg Oncol. 2004 Dec 9;2:44. doi: 10.1186/1477-7819-2-44.


Background: Seroma formation is the most frequent postoperative complication after breast cancer surgery. We carried out a study to investigate the effect of various demographic, clinical and therapeutic variables on seroma formation.

Patients and methods: A retrospective cross sectional study of patients who underwent surgical therapy for breast cancer with either modified radical mastectomy (MRM) or breast preservation (BP) was carried out. The demographic data and clinical information were extracted from case records. Seroma formation was studied in relation to age, type of surgery, tumor size, nodal involvement, preoperative chemotherapy, surgical instrument (electrocautery or scalpel), use of pressure garment, and duration of drainage. The multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to estimate odds ratios.

Results: A total of 158 patients with breast cancer were studied. The mean age of the patients was 46.3 years (SD +/- 11.9). Seventy-three percent underwent modified radical mastectomy and the remaining 27% received breast preservation surgery. Seroma occurred in 35% of patients. In multivariate logistic regression analysis an association of postoperative seroma formation was noted with modified radical mastectomy (OR = 2.83, 95% CI 1.01-7.90, P = 0.04). No other factor studied was found to significantly effect the seroma formation after breast cancer surgery.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that the type of surgery is a predicting factor for seroma formation in breast cancer patients.