What is the prevalence of lymphedema following ALND in the surgical treatment of breast cancer?

Updated: Feb 13, 2019
  • Author: Mary Jo Wright, MD; Chief Editor: James Neal Long, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Axillary lymph node dissection was previously considered the standard of care for all patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. However, axillary lymph node dissection carries a high rate of surgical morbidity, including the following:

  • Lymphedema (rates of about 25%)

  • Shoulder dysfunction

  • Wound infection

  • Seroma

  • Nerve damage

  • Numbness

  • Chronic pain

  • Brachial plexus injury (rare)


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