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January 1995

Prevention of Seromas in Mastectomy Wounds: The Effect of Shoulder Immobilization

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Highland Clinic and Louisiana State University-Shreveport School of Medicine.

Arch Surg. 1995;130(1):99-101. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1995.01430010101021

Objective:  To determine if postoperative shoulder immobilization decreases the incidence of postmastectomy seromas.

Design and Setting:  A prospective randomized trial of three surgeons' experiences at a community hospital.

Patients:  Thirty-eight patients who underwent modified radical mastectomy from March 1991 through February 1993.

Main Outcome Measures:  Incidence of postmastectomy seromas and time required for patients to gain 110° of shoulder abduction after surgery.

Results:  Thirteen (72%) of 18 wounds in the maximum range of motion cohort developed seromas (72%) compared with one (6%) of 17 in the minimum range of motion cohort (P=.0005). The average time required for the patients with maximum range of motion to gain 110° of shoulder abduction was 2.6 weeks, whereas the patients with minimum range of motion required an average of 5.0 weeks (P=.0127).

Conclusion:  Postmastectomy shoulder immobilization significantly decreases the incidence of wound seromas. Although this protocol resulted in a delay in return to normal shoulder mobility, no patients sustained longterm musculoskeletal dysfunction.(Arch Surg. 1995;130:99-101)

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