• Is infection common after surgery or something to worry about?

    Asked by dealite2007 on Friday, December 28, 2012

    Is infection common after surgery or something to worry about?

    Started radiation three days ago. Met with Radiation Oncologist yesterday. The breast that was radiated was very red. She said it wasn't from the radiation and was possibly an infection (even though I had a lumpectomy 5 weeks ago). My breast wasn't red before radiation(just a small tiny area that was slightly pink). Could this really be an infection, or a mild infection that was greatly affected by the radiaiton? Any thoughts out there?

    9 Answers from the Community

    9 answers
    • carm's Avatar
      carm (Best Answer!)

      Dealite, you pose an interesting question. I am an oncology nurse and post surgical infections although common, should not happen. It is possible that the radiation treatment could have exascerbated the infection but I have seen radiation burns as well. If the site was pink then most likely that was granulated tissue or tissue that develops when tissue heals. If you are 5 weeks out post surgical and 3 weeks in rx treatment, to me it sounds more an issue that developed with the radiation treatment. Best of luck to you, Carm.

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      No it is not common and yes it is something to worry about. However, it is less common to have radiation burn after just 3 treatments than it is to have an infection from surgery. And it is not uncommon for the visible effects of that infection to not show up for several weeks. The pink, then red area of the skin of the breast can also be a symptom of inflammatory breast cancer. If there is swelling it could also be a seroma. Whatever it is needs to be identified and treated before continuing with radiation. See you surgeon and/or medical oncologist.

      over 4 years ago
    • SueRae1's Avatar

      Infection is a possible side effect of any surgery, though it is not common. The redness on your breast is probably caused by your radation treatment - it makes the effected area look like it's been sun-burnt. Mine are still slightly discolored almost two years after I completed treatment.

      over 4 years ago
    • dealite2007's Avatar

      Nancyjac: Thanks for your response to the question re: infection. I don't think it would be inflammatory breast cancer as just one week ago got the results of the oncotypedx assay (not to mention pathology after surgery) and I'm sure inflammatory breast cancer would have been detected. It may very well be a seroma. And, I believe the radiation, albeit just 3 times, irritated it because today it's back to the very pale pink area (all redness gone.) We'll see after Dr. today.

      over 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar

      My breasts were red and tender a few weeks after mastectomy and reconstruction. Turned out I was allergic to the surgical mesh used to make the internal bra for my implants. Although I did not have any raditaion, I understand that it can cause redness.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar

      I agree with all the gals comments before mine.....I would contact your breast surgeon since the radiation oncologist doesn't think its from the radiation.......best of luck to you...

      over 4 years ago
    • CountryGirl's Avatar

      A fear of recurrence forced me to have a biopsy in the radiated area shortly after surgery. The biopsy site scams infected and actually developed into staph. We had to consult a infectious disease specialist. I agree with the advice above: see the surgeon to get the infection under control.

      over 4 years ago
    • Daffodil's Avatar

      The surgery area was red and had some fluid in it when I started radiation. When I finished it was red and sore. They determined I had a seroma, not uncommon. They drained about 40cc of liquid and I got antibiotics for 3 weeks. Now all seems fine. Apparently the breast is a 2 way street for bacteria, and they little guys love heat, so the combination of liquid and heat gave them a chance to multiply. It reminds me of the musinex add - but they are all gone now!

      over 4 years ago
    • dealite2007's Avatar

      To all who answered. Thanks so much. You guys always give such good information and support. The pink that turned red after radiation turned out to be just post operative inflammation that was irritated even more by the radiation. It isn't getting any worse and, in fact, has receded a bit. So docs not worried. It doesn't hurt, isn't swollen and less pink than before; so all is well.

      over 4 years ago

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