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Doctor insights on: Mastectomy Side Effects

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I was wondering what are the side effects of having a mastectomy?

I was wondering what are the side effects of having a mastectomy?

Loss of breast.: Mastectomy creates an acquired absence of breast with associated scarring and deformity as well as having significant psychosocial impact. This can be ameliorated by reconstruction to make the person 'whole' again. The breast is recreated from either your own body tissues or with implants followed by recreation of a nipple areolar complex. The psychological aspect requires good family support.

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Dr. Barry Rosen
983 Doctors shared insights

Mastectomy (Definition)

A mastectomy is complete removal of all visible breast tissue. Different variations exist, some of which spare some or all of ...Read more


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Can you tell me the side effects of mastectomy? What about breast reconstruction?

Can you tell me the side effects of mastectomy? What about breast reconstruction?

Many!: A mastectomy removes the entire breast including the nipple. It leaves a diagonal scar about 6 inches long. Pain is minimal; most women report numbness of their chest. A flexible tube drains fluid from the incision for 2-3 weeks. Reconstruction can be done at the same time as the mastectomy or later. For info on reconstruction options, check out http://www. Breastcancer. Org/treatment/surgery/.

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Why can't you do venipuncture in the side of mastectomy?

Why can't you do venipuncture in the side of mastectomy?

Swelling/infection: During a mastectomy (removal of a breast due to cancer), a lymph node is removed from the armpit on the mastectomy side to be sure the cancer hasn't spread. In the past, removing 20+ nodes was common! Because the lymph nodes in the armpit fight infection, it wasn't uncommon for women to develop infections/swelling in that arm. So procedures, including blood draws, are limited to reduce infection.

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Why can't you perform venipuncture on the same side as a mastectomy?

Why can't you perform venipuncture on the same side as a mastectomy?

Lymph edema: Due to interruption of lymphatic channels in the axilla it is important to avoid anything that might lead to infection. Lymph edema can be quite disabling and difficult to treat. Precaution is appropriate.

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My prophylactic, bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction...With implants, has developed severe swelling on left side. Could it be fluid?

My prophylactic, bilateral mastectomy with immediate reconstruction...With implants, has developed severe swelling on left side. Could it be fluid?

Yes possible seroma: Yes, it could be a possible seroma or hematoma. Usually drains will help to minimize this but not completely prevent it. It amy require treatment with drainage and/or antibiotics. Discuss with your reconstructive surgeon asap.

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Had a uni mastectomy of right side after chemo. Pathology was almost clean except for poppy seed sized malignancy. Does that mean chemo didn't work?

Had a uni mastectomy of right side after chemo. Pathology was almost clean except for poppy seed sized malignancy. Does that mean chemo didn't work?

No: Sounds like you underwent neoadjuvant chemotherapy. If so, its common for the chemo to shrink but not totally remove the cancer. The treatments can downgrade your tumor staging and improve your prognosis. Speak with your oncologist and surgeon for more details.

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For how long would it take to develop swelling from a flu shot if you had a mastectomy on that side?

Post-mastectomy: If the mastectomy also took lymph nodes out of the armpit, the arm will always have a tendency to swell. You should avoid shots, blood drawing, blood pressure on that arm to try to not have swelling. If your arm is swollen, you can try elevating it over your head. Sleep with it up on a pillow. If swelling continues, your doctor can prescribe a fitted sleeve to help keep swelling under control.

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I'm wondering why can't one take a blood pressure or draw blood on the arm of the side that a mastectomy was done?

I'm wondering why can't one take a blood pressure or draw blood on the arm of the side that a mastectomy was done?

Breast ca sx: After breast ca, sx there is changes in blood flow drainage especially if there was axillary nodes removed that will inter fer with lymphatic drainage. You will be at high risk for phlebitis and lymphangitis.

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I had bilat. Mastectomy last Nov. On non cancer side path. Stated" perivascular chronic inflammation". Could that cause problem during the surgery?

I had bilat. Mastectomy last Nov. On non cancer side path. Stated" perivascular chronic inflammation". Could that cause problem during the surgery?

Likely not: This is likely a chronic thing. This may be precancerous development. You need to see the doctor that did the surgery and have the surgeon talk to the pathologist. If there is no cancer there is no cancer. The chronic vascular phenomena may be just that and no more. Get peace of mind also if you talk to your cancer doctor. Should not cause a problem during surgery. Best wishes

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I have paronychia that is now a felon. On keflex x2 days not responding (neither is my doctor) it is on mastectomy side and I also take hydroxyurea.

I have paronychia that is now a felon. On keflex x2 days not responding (neither is my doctor) it is on mastectomy side and I also take hydroxyurea.

Time: As long as you do not have redness extending beyond the digit I would give the antibiotics another day or two. Paronychias can lead to abscess development that require drainage. If you have redness extending beyond the digit then you should go to the er if your doctor is not responding.

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Can capsular contracture after breast reconstruction be fixed without more surgery? I'm worried about this possible side effect of breast reconstruction. My procedure will be two stages, so between that and my original mastectomy, three surgeries is plent

Breast cancer: I don't want to you feel worse but it typically involves other surgery down the line for maintenance of the implants. Regardless of whether you have breast reconstruction or breast augmentation you are having a medical device. No device is interneded to be permanent. These are man made and potentially need to be replaced every 10 years.

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If I had breast cancer, mastectomy, and implant on left side, will mammograms be able to pick up new tumor in leftover tissue?

Not needed: Mastectomies, by definition, involve removal of (almost) all of the breat tissue present. While it is true that microscopic amounts of breast tissue can be left behind, this is not amenable to mammographic evaluation, regardless of whether a reconstruction was done. Careful physical examination remains the best way to screen for local cancer recurrence following a mastectomy.

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52 years with no family history of breast cancer underwent bilateral subcutaneous mastectomy and histopathology showed on the right side ductal carcin?

52 years with no family history of breast cancer underwent bilateral subcutaneous mastectomy and histopathology showed on the right side ductal carcin?

Possible: I am not sure why was the bilateral mastectomy performed from the begging to start with but Ductal carcinoma in situ is a precancerous condition and it is not uncommon to find in women of your age. You must follow up with an oncologist to see if further intervention like hormonal thrapy is indicated.

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I am a breast cancer survivor and am having increasing pain in my shoulder and hip bone on my affected side I had a double mastectomy 2011?

I am a breast cancer survivor and am having increasing pain in my shoulder and hip bone on my affected side I had a double mastectomy 2011?

Encourage you: To have your health checked to determine the causes of this pain. Are you getting regular follow up s/p your surgery?