• Does lymph node removal of sentinel + maybe more automatically give you lymphadema?

    Asked by Ydnar2xer on Tuesday, August 14, 2012

    Does lymph node removal of sentinel + maybe more automatically give you lymphadema?

    I have two scoop mastectomy scheduled a week from tomorrow and am anxious about lymph nodes.

    7 Answers from the Community

    7 answers
    • lynn1950's Avatar

      Hi - The short answer is no, you won't automatically get lymphedema from having nodes removed.

      Now for the long answer: I had sentinal and 12 lymph nodes removed 4 years ago. I remember being concerned about lymphedema. I am still concerned, but it's nothing I worry about. I don't know what a two scoop mastectomy is. Do you mean bilateral? Are you having nodes removed from both sides?

      If you're having nodes removed from just one side, be sure that in the future all blood pressure, blood draws, injections, etc are done on your other arm. Even when I was in the hospital, a lab tech came to draw blood from my mastectomy side arm and I had to remind him.

      I did initially have some swelling on my left (cancer) side - not in my arm. My radiation oncologist sent me to a lymphedema specialist (physical therapist). She showed me exercises and massage to do. She also fitted me for a sleeve.

      In the beginning, I did the massage and exercises religiously. It's been four years now, and I don't have lymphedema. I am careful about wearing gardening gloves, wearing my sleeve when I fly, and treating any small cuts with antibiotics immediately. I will always be at risk for lymphedema, but so far I have dodged it.

      Best of luck with your surgery. I will be thinking of you.

      about 6 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar

      There is nothing automatic about lymphedema but there are risk factors. A smoker's risk of cancer is higher than a non-smokers, but not all smokers get cancer and lots of non smokers do get cancer. The same is true for lymphedema. Those who have had lymph node removal have a higher risk for lymphedema than those who don't, but not all who have had lymph nodes removed will get lymphedema and some who haven't will get lymphedema. Being anxious about it does nothing to lower your risk either way, but as Lynn mentioned, there are some preventative measures you can take to lower your risk.

      about 6 years ago
    • GetMyLifeBack's Avatar
      GetMyLifeBack (Best Answer!)

      Your level of risk is associated with the number of lymph nodes you had removed. I only had one removed after my sentinel lymphnode biopsy and I have not changed a thing about my activities, needle XXX, etc. My risk as 2% so I decided to take a chance and not change my life. I had bilateral mastectomies and that has not caused any complications.

      about 6 years ago
    • Carol-Charlie's Avatar

      I had ovarian cancer - late stage- I was terrified... I ask God to please take my hand and lead me to where he wanted me to be... He took my hand instantly my fear was gone... and he has led me to now. six and a half years later.. still cancer free... still guiding me. I feel sure he led me here to WhatNext.com. I wrote this the day I was diagnosed, prior to going to talk to the oncologist.

      I know!!
      ©2006 by Carol Notermann

      I know that I’m not in control… But Thank God that He is!
      I know that I’ve no need to plan, for the best plan is His.

      I know that I am not alone. Friends walk the path with me.
      I know that yes, I must be strong, find out what waits for me.

      I know that as in "Footprints" there's only one set in the sand.
      and I know that I am clinging, very tightly to His hand.

      Today, I'll see what doctors -- can do to help me stay
      here with all my loved ones, cherishing each day

      about 6 years ago
    • Clyde's Avatar

      I was told there was a risk (I'm having all nodes under one arm removed on Friday) but that it was a low risk. Much lower than in the past due to new techniques. Most important, as I understand it, is to let the drain happen fully so your body adjusts.

      about 6 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar

      I had eleven lymph nodes removed (8 positive) and did get lymphedema. I received therapy and wore a compression sleeve to get my arm back down to normal. I was fitted for a sleeve and glove. I have gotten used to the sleeve but don't care much for the glove. The sleeve and glove seem to keep it under control. I do exercises to stimulate the remaining nodes in hopes that they will take over. "Body Brushing" is also very beneficial. I was given the brush and instructions by a specialist in the field. I feel that the lymphedema is a small price to pay for getting rid of those positive nodes!

      about 6 years ago
    • jvbaseballmom2's Avatar

      I had the sentinel node removed, together with 9 lymph nodes. It has been 7 years, and I have never had lymphodema.

      almost 6 years ago

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