Background: Seroma formation is a common problem following axillary dissection. It is probably caused by a local inflammatory response. Local steroids may prevent this problem by inhibiting inflammatory response at the wound site.
Methods: This randomized prospective study was undertaken to evaluate the effect of local triamcinolone injection on seroma formation following axillary dissection. In addition, other wound complications were recorded. A total of 44 women who underwent axillary dissection were randomized to receive either 40 mg intracavitary triamcinolone (Group T, n=22) or saline (Group C, n=22) on their first postoperative visit. Drains were removed if 24-hour drainage was <50 mL. The incidence of wound complications (including seroma) during the first postoperative month was recorded. Additionally, some patient and tumor characteristics possibly pertinent to wound complications were assessed.
Results: No wound complications (including seroma formation) were observed in either group in four follow-up visits during the first month after surgery.
Conclusion: In our study, in contrast to previous studies, seroma formation was not a common complication following axillary dissection. We could not evaluate the effect of local triamcinolone on seroma formation, although it apparently had no unfavorable effect on this potential complication. According to this study, axillary dissection can be a safe procedure if optimal surgical techniques and meticulous dissections are used, and if drain removal is timed appropriately.