What is the risk of seroma from MammoSite brachytherapy?

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Expert Answers

AlexanderSwistelMD (Physician - Surgery - Breast (Verified) ) - 12 / 09 / 2012

Seroma often accompanies partial breast irradiation or brachytherapy that uses a temporary balloon catheter such as the mammosite device or other similar such instruments. They allow delivery of high dose targeted radiation over a short period of days, but as they are inside the breast, our bodies tend to form capsules around foreign objects even after a few days. These capsules then fill with fluid and can persist for many years. It is not dangerous but it can be annoying especially if the seroma cavity is large. Sometimes, patients have had to have the seroma cavities surgically removed because of the discomfort.

Because of this, some centers are now using high dose intraoperative radiation that is completed at the time of lumpectomy and this has resulted in no seroma cavity formation as the device is removed before the patient leaves the operating room.
Shared Experiences

member2816 (Survivor (2 - 5 years)) - 04 / 19 / 2015

I am totally against mammosite insertion. When I was asked if I wanted my radiation thu mammosite which will cut radiation down to just 5 days it sounded like a good idea.  I liked the idea that your heart would not be damaged like the radiation beam will do.  However it was the worst choice I could have made.  All you hear from the radiation doctor is good things about it and how over the years it has become even better.  Even on the net all you see are mammosite supported doctors bragging on it. It is a bad device and I cannot believe it is still being used.  After much searching on the net I was finally led to blogs of women who use it and read medical abstract studies on the high problems this device causes.  I also read about problem on FDA site on problems it causes.

Why is it being used. I believe with all my heart it is NOT FOR THE PATIENT'S BENEFIT.  Apparently it is a high end reimbursement device.  Insurance pays quite a bit of money for this insertion.  My own radiologist said it runs around $5,000 for the device itself.  As I think back to that day I remember it being more like a sales presentation.  I would have never got it done had I known that I would have persistent seroma.

I was diagnosed with IDC Stage I around 1/2014.  Had lumpectomy done 2/17/2014 with a temporary mammosite cathether put in for 1 week and then changed out to the mammosite catheter that my radiation would be given thu.  I thought after all this was done that as time went on my breast would heal and in 6 to 12 mos. I would be back to normal.  I was dreading the surgery and radiation but thought after completing all I would be OK.  I had had open heart surgery in 2009 with a double bypass and I knew it took time to recover from surgery but in time I am better that ever on my heart.  

However it is not that way with a mammosite.  I have experienced pain due to a persistent seroma (which mammogram say).  It has be 13 mos.  and during this time fluid has been drained off every few months.  In March of 2015 I was in horrible pain in the middle of the night and went to ER, they put me on antibiotic and said follow up with Cancer surgeon.  I seen him and he added another week of antibiotics and drained 45 cc of breast.  Breast fills up a week later again.  Very hugh knot there.  I expressed to the cancer surgeon how much pain this is causing and he said what else do you want me to do? Maybe you should get mastectomy.   

I was to handle the surgery but it is the lifetime  of pain due to fluid build up that is making me depressed and ill feeling and that was not worth getting the mammosite for. I did not SIGN UP FOR THIS.  I was never told that my life would be  full of pain and going to the doctor to have fluid drained off if I took the mammosite.  If I knew the high percentage of women that was also suffering with this problem due to mammosite, I would NOT HAVE DONE IT.  Medical studies I am reading are showing this problem along with others are quite high.  Why did my doctors not tell me this?  Was it illegal to withhold this info. 
I am spreading the word everywhere to women, do not get this done.
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