• How long after my lumpectomy surgery will I know if I will develop lymphodema?

    Asked by Giraffe on Sunday, December 9, 2012

    How long after my lumpectomy surgery will I know if I will develop lymphodema?

    12 days after my surgery my arm is numb, swollen and still sore. Who do I ask this question of?

    11 Answers from the Community

    11 answers
    • Tracy's Avatar
      Tracy

      This is a question for your Dr office. I know of women who had it right away and some who had it sneak up on them. I have it in my neck which is a challenging place to treat (compression is not viable...)
      The women's fly fishing club I belonged to supported a group that helps women learn to fly fish as a way to help the lymphodema and get a support network. It is called Casting for recovery -- http://castingforrecovery.org/wordpress/home/

      over 4 years ago
    • JennyMiller's Avatar
      JennyMiller

      It was a couple of months after surgery for me. I had therapy and wore compression wraps for a number of weeks then graduated to the sleeve and glove. If I wear just the sleeve, my hand will puff up -- and the glove is so cumbersome. Lately, I have gone without both and it seems to be doing okay -- hopefully my body is adjusting. I understand that there is going to be a Lymphedema Clinic in our city soon which will be wonderful as there are so many people dealing with this. I wish you the best.

      over 4 years ago
    • gwendolyn's Avatar
      gwendolyn

      So soon after your surgery your arm swelling and pain might just be a reaction to the trauma of the surgery. Ask your oncologist or surgeon to refer you to a lymphedema and/or physical therapist to aid your recovery and evaluate you for lymphedema. With your doctor's approval, start moving the arm slowly and gently to increase range of motion.

      over 4 years ago
    • karen1956's Avatar
      karen1956

      I had a bilat and my arm pit is still numb on the BC side where I had the axillary dissection....LE can develop any time and from my understanding without any warning. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and see what she/he says....if not satisfied find a LE specialist (generally a PT)...The swelling could be a sign of LE or only 12 days post surgery still be from the surgery....surgeon is best bet to talk to....or hopefully someone here has better answers than me...

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Where are your arm is the numbness? Did you have lymph nodes removed? If it is localized in the upper arm is is probably just residual impact from the surgery. Some nerves are usually severed with lymph node removal and some localized numbness is normal and permanent. If the swelling is the whole length of your arm and hand, then it may well be lymphedema. Have your oncologist or surgeon examine it. As for you how long question, lymphodema can occur at any time, even years after surgery.

      over 4 years ago
    • debco148's Avatar
      debco148

      Not all of us develop lymphodema. I had a mastectomy and 2 nodes removes and it has been since Feb this year, and I don't have lymphodema at all. You could be feeling the numb feeling for a bit, it may depend what nerves were affected. I still have a numbness in the muscle around the back on that side (my left). It also will depend on how many lymph nodes you had removed. Definitely check with your surgeon about it and if you are experiencing this numbness from lymph removal, you'll wear the sleeves and all. Then, once you are healed from surgery, make sure to start stretching that arm. They will give you some exercises to do, but also look into Yoga for breast cancer patients. They have books they can give you from the hospitals, etc. It is important to listen to the advice they give you and remember not everyone even gets lymphodema.

      over 4 years ago
    • Wheezie's Avatar
      Wheezie

      My personal experience - both of my hands swelled during chemo. Had a second surgery after chemo to remove remainder of tumor. After that, my right hand went down gradually, but the left did not (the side of the cancer). From what I have been told and everything I've read, it can appear at any time. The advice is to stay away from hot tubs, no hot wax mani treatments and you should wear compression garments any time you fly. Mine is only in my hand and has actually seemed to improve over time. (Its' been 5 years.) Check with your doctor for more information.

      over 4 years ago
    • Wheezie's Avatar
      Wheezie

      Just wanted to say something more to JennyMiller. I also got tired of wearing my glove and went without it for a couple months. Well, that was a big mistake. It eventually got red and even more swollen - I had gotten an infection. Apparently, the fluid pooled and stagnated and grew some nasty bacteria. I don't recommend prolonged periods of not wearing the compression garments.

      over 4 years ago
    • lynn1950's Avatar
      lynn1950

      I had some swelling post surgery, chemo and radiation. In the early days after radiation I wore a sleeve. Over time the swelling has gone away and I no longer wear a sleeve except when I fly. However. once at risk for lymphedema, the risk never goes away. I am very careful to protect my left side where nodes were removed - I never have manicures and I wear gloves when I garden. 12 days post surgery is still very early. A lymphedema specialist is the best person to go to for information. My best to you.

      over 4 years ago
    • rlclark93654's Avatar
      rlclark93654

      I still will experience pain, numbness and swelling. I had my surgery 1 month ago and while while doc has not suggested lymphdema I did develop a collection of fluid that was quite pronounced around the lymph node area which the doc drains weekly until it dissappates, the swelling is quite uncomfortable and tender but once drained, awww such relief. I would make sure that if you see this, go to the doc, good luck!

      over 4 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      rlclark,

      What you are experiencing is not lymphedema. It is called a seroma, a pocket of tissue filled with serous fluid. It is quite common after surgery and some times does take multiple needle aspirations before it stops refilling.

      over 4 years ago

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