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Breast Cancer Surgery

Emergencies and when to get help

​If you are having chest pain, chest tightness or difficulty breating at any time, call 911.​

Urgent concerns

If you have any of the following urgent concerns, call the number your surgeon gave you at any time (including evenings, weekends or holidays):

  • Swelling that is increasing under your incision. This may be a hematoma.
  • Increasing redness, pain or swelling around your incision(s) or drain site. This may be an infection.
  • Bright red bleeding from your incision and the bleeding does not stop after you put pressure using a clean cloth or gauze.
  • Ongoing bright red bloody discharge from your drain.
  • Chills or a fever (temperature above 38°C / 100.4°F).
  • You have a complete separation of your incision.

Non-urgent concerns

These concerns are not urgent. Call your surgeon during business hours to set up an appointment if you notice:

  • The drain is blocked.
  • Drainage from your drain that smells bad or is creamy in colour.
  • You have a seroma (fluid build-up) and it’s causing you pain.
  • Any new drainage from your incision(s).
  • You have a partial separation of your incision.
  • You have a skin reaction to the surgical tapes.

What’s common after surgery

You don’t need to call your surgeon or family doctor if you notice:

  • Bruising on the skin of the breast and armpit without swelling.
  • A bit of redness right around your drain site.
  • A closed incision with a bit of drainage.
  • A stitch that you can see or feel at the end(s) of your incision.
  • Firmness without bruising where you had a lump removed (lumpectomy).​​​​​

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