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question on sentinal node, and precautions for lymphedema

mjjones453's picture
Posts: 155
Joined: May 2010

my mom just had a bilateral mastectomy last week. She had the Sentinal node removed removed from where the tumors were. One at 9 o'clock, and one at 3 o'clock. So, the surgeon says that she can have blood pressure taken, and blood draws, because they did not remove and nodes under her arm. Is this right? I though no matter where the sentinal node was removed we should always take precautions. Can she still get lymphedema even if one node was touched? I thought so, What do you all think??

Posts: 6564
Joined: Oct 2010

YOU were not to use that arm...can't hurt to NOT USE it...even if she is weary of it...!

Better safe then sorry...in my thoughts...

Denise W

Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

I was under the understanding as you but not sure. I had 11 out of 21 positive nodes on the side of cancer and year later had the second breast removed and they apparently checked the sentinal on that side.
The problem has been for me that I had chemo on the opposite side of my cancer and first mastectomy so very hard to find a vein on that arm but don't use the other one because I was told not to. Sometimes I have use that arm and they just are more careful making sure to clean it more before and after poking me.
Yes I have some lymphadema in both arms the worst on side of cancer where lmphnodes removed. I am painter and drywall taper so they both get a good work out. I am fortunate not to have pressure problems so do not wear sleeves.
But once again I never have heard that before.

Posts: 992
Joined: Sep 2009

that because I only had one node removed, I did not need to be concerned about it. She is a breast cancer specialist and highly regarded in CT, I trust her advise.


Posts: 3644
Joined: Aug 2009

When you say you don't have 'pressure problems', what are you meaning? That your blood pressure is normal? That means nothing when it comes to lymphedema. I have fairly severe lymphedema and my blood pressure is well within 'normal'. I wear slleves and gloves daily, sleep in my night sleeve, and now have an MLD machine - it's much better but definately there.

Before the lymphedema raised it's ugly head, my Dr had said before spring hit she was sending me to the Lymphedemologist to get a sleeves and glove to use anytime I did anything 'heavy' (she knows me well and knows that I have horses so do some heavy 'work') as protection. Unfortunately, 'it' came before I finished Taxol and got worse after rad burns.

Please if you are painting and tapeing (I've painted and hung drywall years ago)check with a Certified Lymphedemoligist - an ounce of prevention/protection is more than worth a ton of treatment after - treatment will never be able to take you back to pre-TX.


Dawne.Hope's picture
Posts: 825
Joined: Sep 2009

I'd rather be safe than sorry. The U.S. lags behind on the treatment and prevention of lymphedema. It sucks to get it ... I wasn't supposed to, am thin, was active and I still got it. I'd rather err on the side of precaution. One you get it, you got it.
I'd say a resounding NO to blood sticks and BP!



cindycflynn's picture
Posts: 1133
Joined: Oct 2009

I had only 1 sentinal node removed and got lymphedema in the breast area. So far, it has not appeared in my arm, but I've been pretty caution and wear a compression sleeve when I fly, don't do BP or blood draws on that side, etc.

I'm a little confused about them saying that they removed sentinal nodes in the breast but not under the arm? I thought that the sentinal nodes WERE under the arm. Maybe you should ask for a more detailed explanation of that.

It certainly can't hurt to be cautious either way.


phoenixrising's picture
Posts: 1511
Joined: Feb 2007

I don't have any scientific data to back me up but I think this is true. The sentinels are the first line of defense within and around the breast and I think most come out with the mastectomy. Your mother still has her axillary nodes (I do too) and they are the ones that will fight any infection gotten from a needle and will continue to circulate lymph fluid just like a regular person.

It's removal of the axillary nodes that cause the lymphedema which is why I kept mine.

I don't think this issue is clear since it's been the practice to remove the axillary nodes till now where research is in favour of leaving them providing the patient has chemo. So we'll probably hear more about it in the future. I've had blood taken and blood pressure taken from my arm with no problems.


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