Axillary Lymph Node Biopsy/Removal

Posted By
11/24/2017 11:11pm
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Replies: 13

Hi friends!

I am a little over a week out from surgery to remove a lymph node in my left armpit (they had to take 3 since two were clumped on to the bad one). I have found that my upper arm, not really the area of incision, hurts quite a bit. Feels like a tingling pins and needles and pinching pain, definitely feels like nerve pain. I didn't experience anything like this with my groin SLNB so this is new and pretty darn uncomfortable. Just wondering for those who had SLNB in their axilla, did you also experience nerve pain, if so, how long did it last? Tylenol and Advil don't do anything for it. I've been using ice packs to numb the area to be a little comfortable for a bit until that wears off, not the easiest thing to do while working though.

Hope everyone had a good thanksgiving with family and friends. 

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

Hey Jenn! I'm glad that your surgery is over and I pray that it is the last Melanoma related treatment you ever need! My removed nodes were in my head (occipital) and neck and there was quite a bit of nerve pain and sometimes there still is a little "weirdness" and pain and mine was done 8 months ago. I agree that the OTC pain relivers didn't get it done for me either and ended up taking some Hydrocodone occasionally for pain and it helped quite a bit. I'm not sure if something stronger would work the same/better/worse for axillary area but it might be worth a shot as a backup when the pain hits hard. Anyway, sorry you are still having intense pain and I'm happy that this surgery is in the rear view mirror and you just might be NED right now, as we speak!



I was given 10 oxycodone pills after surgery, used those up, I have my post-op appt on Friday, I think I will just tough it out until I see the surgeon then and reassess if I need something stronger then. Thank so much Tex!

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

I had SLNB about a year ago. I also had some nerve damage. I would ask you doctor for something a little stronger than advil, at least for the first couple of weeks. It does get better with time and as the nerve reconnect there will be occasional pain (burning). I still have a portion of the back of my arm that is numb but it gets better with time. My surgeon suggested a heating pad which I thought sounded odd but really helped a lot. Hope you have a quick recovery and this gets you to NED!!

I was given a small amount of oxycodone which helped but was only about a 4 day supply. I will try a heating pad now instead of cold, thanks!

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

Hey Jenn,

I've had bilateral CLND's to the axilla.  The first in 2003 on the right and the second in 2007 to the left.  After both surgeries I had weird tingling, burning, and out right pain as you describe.  I suspect you are to the point in healing that warmth would be more beneficial than cold.  After both my surgeries, once sufficiently healed, the exercises you can find on the internet for folks post breast surgery were very helpful.  Espcially the "wall climb" where you stand close to a wall...and day by day, you gently run your fingers higher and higher up the wall to regain full range of motion and extension.  It is a slow process...but nerves do heal and do get better.  I have residual issues on my right because of 3 additional surgeries on that side...but what 'cha gonna do???  Also, though not recommended, I have had a zillion IV's and BP's in both those arms.  Once you are in a 2 1/2 year clinical trial and both arms have been affected, what's a girl to do?  However, it would be best for you to avoid those things in your affected arm as long as you can.  On the positive side....I have never developed lymphedema and remain NED 14 years after my original diagnosis and 7 years post becoming Stage IV with brain and lung mets. 

Hang in there.  You got this!!!  Celeste

Will definitely be getting BP and pokes on my right arm only now... no more are the days of saying "whichever arm you want". I am going to give a heating pad and exercises a try now. Thanks Celeste!

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

Hi Jenn, I have had both arm pits cleaned out and the biggest problem I had was sleeping. I would get shooting pain every once and a while the first few weeks. It eventually went away. I have had treatments on both arms for almost 4 year every two weeks, with no lymphedema issues. There has been some new findings about taking blood pressure readings after CLND's and that there doesn't seem to be any link to lymphedema. I did a lot of the exercises that Celeste suggested to you to get range of motion back. Best Wishes!!!Ed

Sleeping is definitely a challenge right now, especially since I like to sleep on both sides and now I'm stuck on just the right side. Plus waking up to pain isn't so fun. Definitely going to start doin some exercises. Thanks for the info Ed!

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

Hi Jenn - my son experienced the same thing. Also shooting pains down his arm. This subsided over time, although subsequent surgery has left him with a large numb area on the underside of his arm , as well as nerve pain.  Hope you heal up quickly with no residual pain!!

Thank you!

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

Hi Jenn,

I have had post op nerve pain a few different times and nerve pain from mets pushing on nerves.  They gave me Gabapentin for the nerve pain.  It works really well, but I am not a fan of that drug.  I only took it when I really needed it.  Sleeping was the main reason why I asked my onc what they could do to help.  It will subside, but I totally understand the discomfort.  If you want help, I would ask for Gabapentin.


Thanks for the tip Brad!

Jenn - stage IV NED - Completed Ipi/Nivo (Yervoy/Opdivo) + surgery

Hi Jenn, You've had a lot of good input so far. I had my surgery last year, rather large incision because they used a flap from there to close my WLE. I had alot of nerve pain across my chest  I used Lydocain patches that gave some relief. I have been taking Gabapentin since July and not experiencing side effects. Recently went to a pain Doctor for other nerve pain. he increased my Gabapentin with a heavier dose at night and gave me perscription strength 5% Lydocain Patches. Patches can't be used on the incision, but areas around. Hope this helps!

Best Wishes