Authors: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


This prospective study was designed to evaluate changes in upper extremity lymphatic drainage after ALND in comparison to the preoperative status using lymphoscintigraphy. The study enrolled 44 women (mean age: 57.95; range: 35-80) with a new diagnosis of unilateral invasive breast carcinoma who had been scheduled to undergo ALND. This was a substudy of the physiotherapeutic project, in which subjects after ALND were randomized into 4 groups treated with: 1) rehabilitation exercises; 2) manual lymphatic drainage; 3) pneumatic compression pump; and 4) education only. Clinical evaluation which included arm measurements and lymphoscintigraphy was performed in every subject before surgery and 3 times after surgery (1-6 weeks, 1 and 2 years after ALND). Follow-up was completed in 44 subjects at 1 year and in 32 subjects at 2 years. Lymphedema diagnosis was made in 4 subjects 1 year after ALND (9%) and in 8 subjects 2 years after ALND (25%). Among them, respectively, only 50% and 62% noticed and reported lymphedema. Quantitative analysis of lymphoscintigrams and photoplethysmography results did not reveal upper extremities lymphatic transport and/or venous function impairment after the ALND procedure. Qualitative analysis of lymphoscintigrams revealed most commonly disappearance of previously functional lymph nodes and appearance of dermal backflow in subjects who developed lymphedema. Conversely, appearance of functional lymph nodes in different locations after ALND may indicate protection from development of upper extremity lymphedema.

Keywords: liposuction, lymphedema treatment, suction assisted protein lipectomy, SAPL, scarred leg

How to Cite: Szuba, A. , Chachaj, A. , Koba-Wszedybyl, M. , Hawro, R. , Jasinski, R. , Tarkowski, R. , Bebenek, M. , Szewczyk, K. , Forgacz, J. , Jodkowska, A. , Jedrzejuk, D. , Landwojtowicz, M. , Janczak, D. , Malicka, I. , Pawlowska, K. , Piwowarczyk, M. , Pilch, U. & Wozniewski, M. (2016) “UPPER EXTREMITY LYMPHEDEMA AFTER AXILLARY LYMPH NODE DISSECTION: PROSPECTIVE LYMPHOSCINTIGRAPHIC EVALUATION”, Lymphology. 49(2).