Axillary Lymph Node Dissection

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seq24
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Axillary Lymph Node Dissection - Saturday, August 06, 2016 4:36 PM
Was just told I would be having an Axillary Lymph Node Dissection during my upcoming surgery rather than sentinal node biopsy as I was originally told. Has anyone else had this procedure? I have not read anything positive about this procedure, that the recovery was long and painful and the long term risks and side effects are numerous and frequent.  Oncologist and surgeon have varying opinions on this and in the end I guess the surgeon wins as to which procedure it is going to be. He says node dissection. Another thing to scare me out of my mind. Thoughts please?

Tricia Keegan
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  • Location: Ireland
Re:Axillary Lymph Node Dissection - Saturday, August 06, 2016 5:55 PM
I had this done, nine nodes removed and three positive and had a drain for a few days as a result. It takes a little time for the fluid to learn how to drain again correctly so I had the area drained (or aspirated) twice before it settled down. I had pain when the fluid built up but not everyone gets that but having drained was painless as the nerves have been cut. On a personal level I think it's a better procedure than just having the sentinel removed as at least you know how far it may have spread or not, be sure to do the exercise's they give you which will help. Going forward you just need to be aware of the risks of Lymphedema but the Dr will explain all that to you.
Tricia Keegan...From Ireland Dx July '05 IDC 3/9 nodes pos..triple positive..a/c x 4..Taxol/herceptin x 12
Herceptin 1yr ..rads x35 oophorectomy Aug '06
Currently taking Arimidex /Zometa 1 x yearly
Carepage- survivortricia

seq24
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Re:Axillary Lymph Node Dissection - Saturday, August 06, 2016 10:07 PM
Thanks Tricia. Looks like I have been getting many varying opinions on this topic. I'm not liking the idea of the dissection at all. Definitely calling the dr. on Monday to see why they each have a different opinion. I thought oncologist would have final say because she is overseeing the big picture, but surgeon said he gets to "make the rules". 

Andi1961
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Re:Axillary Lymph Node Dissection - Sunday, August 07, 2016 10:09 AM
I had this done with my mastectomy in 2011.  Basically, they remove the fat pad under your arm and send that off to have the lymph nodes dissected out.  Everyone has a different amount of lymph nodes.  I had 24.  Because it was done in conjunction with a mastectomy and immediate reconstruction, I had drains in my breast and my abdomen (where they took the tissue to reconstruct me).  I have no idea if the actual dissection was painful, as I was in a lot of pain from the entire procedure and was on morphine.  One of the lasting effects from axillary lymph nodes dissection is the fear of lymphedema.  It's been almost 5 years since my surgery, and I have had mild lymphedema (mostly in my hand) off and on since.  I wear a compression sleeve and gauntlet when I get on an airplane, but that's about it.  I recently made some major changes in my diet, and one of the results was that the lymphedema appears to be gone.


Andi - age 55    
  8/15/2011 IDC Grade 2 Left Breast ER/PR +, Her2 -, Stage IIa
9/12/2011 Lumpectomy - 1.1 cm tumor + DCIS w/positive margins - 1/4 nodes +
10/17/2011 Modified Radical Mastectomy (Left) w/DIEP flap reconstruction
1/5/2012 -Began 6 rounds Cytoxan/Taxotere - DONE!!!! 
4/19/2012 - Lymphedema left arm & hand
5/2012 - DVT Brachial vein right arm
6/2012 - Began Tamoxifen X 10

seq24
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Re:Axillary Lymph Node Dissection - Sunday, August 07, 2016 10:56 AM
Thanks for the info Andi. You have been through a lot it sounds like! Im really scared of all the possibilities that could happen. What did you change in your diet to get rid of the lymphedema?
<message edited by seq24 on Sunday, August 07, 2016 11:54 AM>