After a sentinel node biopsy, many women have no side effects. Some women have pain or bruising at the cut (incision) and feel tired. Your breast and underarm area may be slightly swollen. This may last a few days. You should feel close to normal in a few days. The incision the doctor made usually heals in about 2 weeks. The scar usually fades with time.
Some women have a buildup of fluid in the area where the lymph nodes were removed. This is known as seroma. This goes away on its own, or your doctor can drain it.
When you had this test, your doctor injected blue dye or radioactive material (or both) into your breast. The blue dye may give your breast a bluish colour and turn your urine green for about 24 hours. The radioactive material leaves the body on its own in 24 to 48 hours.
A sentinel node biopsy may be done at the same time as other breast surgeries. If this is the case, how you recover will be different.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Laura S. Dominici, MD - Surgery, General Surgery, Oncology
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