Foreign object on ultrasound after surgery? My cat had a bilateral chain mastectomy 5 months ago after …

Foreign object on ultrasound after surgery? My cat had a bilateral chain mastectomy 5 months ago after a cancer diagnosis. The surgery went well and at her 2 week suture removal appointment the surgeon said everything looked great. However, soon after she developed a rather large seroma in her abdominal area. I took her to my vet and she drained almost almost 100 cc of fluid and tested the fluid to confirm it was a seroma. As expected. the seroma was back by the next week and has been there ever since (going on 4 months), though this time it was rather firm. I was told that the seroma should eventually go away on it’s own. The seroma doesn’t really seem to bother her at all. I took her to my vet 2 days ago for an unrelated matter and she was concerned that it hadn’t changed at all. She drained the fluid again so she could feel the incision underneath. She was concerned that something could be causing irritation or something could have improperly healed (she said it felt odd when palpitating the stomach). She suggested that I make an appointment with the specialty surgeon.

I took her in for her appointment today and he suggested that we could do surgery to remove subcutaneous tissue and place a drain. I really do not want to do a drain and would like to avoid another surgery if at all possible given what she’s already been through!! (and I already paid for a $3000 surgery) He said we could do a limited ultrasound of the abdomen first to make sure the body wall was intact. I agreed to the ultrasound. He called with the results and said the body wall was intact and the fluid was clear but a could see a “repeatable foreign object” near the front of the seroma that could be causing irritation and fluid buildup. It seems to me that this foreign object has to be a direct result of the surgery (flipped staple, something left inside…)?? It’s outside of the body wall. I’m very frustrated. He stuck with his recommendation of a $1,500 exploratory surgery and the drain placement. However, he did say it’s not an emergency as she doesn’t seem in any distress and has been living with it for months.

Advice on how to proceed? What questions should I ask? Should the surgeon take responsibility for this?

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Krista Magnifico
2 years ago

Hello, It sounds like you have a firm understanding of everything that has been done. And a suspicion that is reasonable and understandable. With all of this I would inquire with the surgeon your concerns. If I were your surgeon I would offer to do it for free if indeed I was also concerned that I might be responsible for this. Your other option is to ask the surgeon for a referral from an unbiased unrelated surgeon who can give an honest assessment without bias or liability. Things happen. But ethical responsibility is paramount. You have options. Don’t be afraid… Read more »