Factors affecting seroma formation after mastectomy with full axillary dissection

Acta Chir Belg. 2009 Jul-Aug;109(4):481-3. doi: 10.1080/00015458.2009.11680464.


Background and objectives: Seroma formation is the most common complication after breast cancer surgery, especially when axillary dissection is performed. This clinical research was undertaken to identify factors that predict the development of seroma after modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer.

Methods: 40 patients with primary breast cancer were included. Modified radical mastectomy with full axillary dissection was performed without electrocautery dissection. The seroma was diagnosed clinically by detection of the collection beneath the skin flaps. Drains were retained until the 24 h total output was < or = 40 ml.

Results: A total of 40 patients with a mean = age of 53 +/- 11 years were included in this study. Nine patients (27.5%) developed seroma after mastectomy. Patients with hypertension were more likely to develop seroma after mastectomy (50% versus 11% in patients without hypertension), but no such difference was found with age, tumour size, total number of lymph nodes or metastatic lymph nodes. When a drain was required for > 7 days, seroma formed more often (36.4%) as compared to when the drain stayed for a shorter time (6%).

Conclusions: It is concluded that hypertension and a drainage flow rate greater than 40 mL/day for more than 7 days predict seroma formation following breast cancer surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Breast Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / epidemiology
  • Lymph Node Excision / adverse effects*
  • Mastectomy, Modified Radical / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Seroma / epidemiology*
  • Seroma / etiology