Swelling in the Arm Pit

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 1/6/2005 2:11 PM (GMT -7)   
I just had a lumpectomy surgery on my right breast and removal of some lymph nodes.  I am currently experiencing some swelling and numbness in that arm.  Any suggestions on what I can do to reduce the swelling? 

Post Edited (KD) : 1/6/2005 2:14:13 PM (GMT-7)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2044
   Posted 1/6/2005 3:12 PM (GMT -7)   
Some numbness is common. I still have an area where my arm is numb and it's been more than 8 yrs. As for the swelling, it is probably an accumulation of lymph fluid, but you should have it checked to be sure. If it is lumphademia, there are massage techniques that will help relieve the swelling. Welcome to the board. I know you will find kindness, comfort and wisdom from the gals here. They are just the best friends you will ever find. Best wishes, Lauri

"Go confidently into the direction of your dreams. Live the life you always imagined" Thoreau
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 1106
   Posted 1/6/2005 3:35 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi KD and welcome! I agree with Lauri that it may be just the normal numbness as some of my arm and breast area feeling has never returned, but then I had double mastectomies. As for the swelling, it should be checked out. It may be normal or it could be the beginnings of lymphedema. If it is lympedema you should get started right away on massage. Ask your Dr if he/she knows of a qualified lymphedena therapist. It is important to find a therapist who has been trained in the certified methods of massage for lymphedema. It is not your ordinary massage. Go to the website for the National Lymphedema Network  www.lymphnet.org   and you can find out if they have any therapists listed in your area. Unfortunately, many Doctors don't seem to have a lot of knowledge about lymphedema. Or they seem to be hesitant to send us for massage therapy. A qualified massage therapist (in lymphedema) probably knows more than the Drs.  Anyway, any swelling should be looked at. My Lymph. therapist says it is best to have massage even before the surgeries to better prepare the body and lymp system. Well sorry to be so long-winded. It could be fine, but please get it checked just in case.
L&H, Gail
 It's only when we truly know and understand that we have a limited time on earth -- and that we have no way of knowing when our time is up, we will then begin to live each day to the fullest, as if it was the only one we had.   Elisabeth Kubler Ross

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2921
   Posted 1/6/2005 4:16 PM (GMT -7)   
Another thought, if you just had surgery is that it could be just normal post surgical swelling and an ice bag would help. Also after surgery sometimes fluid gathers in a seroma which the doctor will aspirate to remove fluid. At any rate, you need to call the doctor's office and discuss with the nurse and possibly they will want you to come in a little sooner than your next post surgical visit. Have you had your pathology results yet? Do you have a diagnosis or are you waiting and hoping for a benign lump? Tell us more and we will try to help all we can. Hugs Mary K.

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Date Joined Jul 2003
Total Posts : 2272
   Posted 1/6/2005 6:21 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi and welcome! Sorry you had to join our club, but we'll help you get through the rough spots. I had a sentinel node biopsy 5 years ago, and I got a little swelling right by the scar. My scar is not in the arm pit, it is lower and just outside the bra-line, about 1 1/2" in length. I have no idea how this size and position compares to others. My swelling was like a little pouch, sort of like a small egg or something. It was just a little puffy and it did take a few weeks to resolve. I never had any drains for my lumpectomy or SNB, so I wondered if there was just some fluid buildup.

The best advice I think any of us can give is to call your nurse or doctor if you have any questions or concerns at all.


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