The Breast Surgery Research Group of the Department of Surgery at McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences has received funding from the BRIGHT Run to investigate a way to reduce the incidence of seroma and hematoma among patients who have had breast cancer surgery.

A seroma is a fluid-filled pocket that can develop after breast surgery. A hematoma is a collection of blood, usually clotted, in tissue outside a blood vessel. It usually looks like a very bad bruise.

Both are common complications following surgery to the breast and armpit that can delay both the recovery from surgery and the administration of further cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

The study aims to determine whether applying tranexamic acid, a topical medication, during or right after surgery will decrease the incidence of seroma and hematoma formation after breast cancer surgery.

The rate of seroma-formation following mastectomy, for example, remains as high as 30 to 80 per cent, despite the use of a range of procedures to prevent it.

Reducing post-operative seroma and hematoma is likely to reduce patience anxiety and discomfort as well as optimize cancer care by allowing prompt follow-up treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy and reduce healthcare costs by avoiding multiple emergency room and clinic visits.

This small, single-centre randomized pilot study will compare the application of tranexamic acid to an application of a placebo. The study will evaluate the feasibility of conducting a larger, formal clinical trial to evaluate the effective of the tranexamic treatment.

The Breast Surgery Research Group includes Dr. Susan Reid, Dr. Nicole Hodgson, Dr. Peter Lovrics, Dr. Jennifer Li and Dr. Barbara Heller.