pain in armpit with full axillary disection

Posted By
1/7/2012 3:35am
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Replies: 7

hello all!

first of all i want to wish you to have the best year ever!!

yesterday my mum told me that she has pain under and around the armpit that she had the full lympadectomy, 

(the doctors told as tha they got out 10 lymphs, arent they few for full lnd?)also she feels at night that her breast it getting swolled, what that coulkd means?i d like to say that she dont have lemphydima in her arm.

thanks a lot for any answer!have a nice weekend!!!

hey - sorry that your mom is having pain.  (oh and wish you the best year ever also!).

I am a year + from having mine all removed from my right armpit and I still get pain and tenderness around the breast.  Especially when I overuse the arm.  and I think it can vary on the # of lymph nodes you have.  I think for me they took a total of around 15 out.  Not sure this helps much.

Have a great weekend.  Hopefully she'll feel better. 


"people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel' Maya Angelou

Hi.   I experienced some swelling in my breast, it even had a different color to it (pinkish/reddish) making us be concerned over cellulitis (I don't believe it actually was, although it did feel warm), some time after my lymph node dissection (this was five years ago, so pardon my not recalling timing exactly).   I believe that at first I was given antibiotics, then I sought out a therapist trained in manual lymphatic massage techniques and therapies.  I found her through breast cancer support group networks.   I had massage therapy done from the breast to the arm and down my torso.   She also used a therapeutic method using a type of tape cut into octupus looking tentacles down my torso, weird, but it did help.   I used her massage therapy services for weeks, if not months.   I ended up with some lymphedema in my arm that often required her service or advice and she was also a physical therapist who helped me with my range of motion exercises in that arm.  

It's easy for me to be calm now, at the time I was frantic fearing the melanoma was spreading, that this was a bad sign of things to come.   Just so you know, this is now five years later.   I wear a compression sleeve on my arm occasionally, when I feel my arm becoming uncomfortable, heavy-ish.   The physical appearance of my lymphedema is not that noticeable, but the physical feeling for me is very real (again, not that bad).    I still don't have any hints over what makes it flare up or "feel" full.    I think your Mom would do well to search for a therapist trained in the manual massage techniques for lymphedema.  If you google it, or computer search somewhere, you should find some information, but going through breast cancer support groups in your area might be your best success.

As to the removal of ten lymph nodes, I can't medically speak to that.   From what I have gathered through the years here, the numbers removed vary depending on the surgeon, the amount of tissue removed, the melanoma diagnosis (depth, etc).  

It is also very common to feel pain, ping and pangs occur through the year after recovery---nerve endings readjusting.  But, that is very unnerving for the patient!!!   Hard as this sounds, she should give it at least a day or more.  Often these pains do just not come back.  Of course, if any redness is occuring at the incision site (if that is stilll healing) or the wound is seeping in anyway, she should contact her surgeon.

Sending best wishes for your Mom's recovery.  


Stage III March '05, and holding!!!


As everyone has said, what your mom is feeling is completely normal.  The pain is from nerve damage.  I am sure the doctor told her this was a possibility.  It may heal but nerves take up to 18 months to heal.  The swelling in her breast is not unusual, though no one seems to warn you about that one.  If she does feel that the swelling is painful or a bit too much she should see a lymphedema message therapist.  Best way to do that is to get an RX from her doctor so her insurance will cover some of the cost. 


Stage 3

Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is a part of life, getting back up is living.

Sorry to hear your mom's in pain. Like the others have said, this is normal. I had 30 some-odd lymph nodes removed from my left axilla. I'm not sure of the total number but an ultrasound that I got a few months later confirmed that the surgeon got every last one of them.

I had my surgery in January 2010 and still feel occasional pain in the area. It also still is somewhat numb from where some superficial nerves were intenetionally cut to help with pain control. The feeling has gradually been returning to the area.

It might not be a bad idea for your mom to see a physical therapist with experience in dealing with patients who've had lymphadenectomies. I'm glad I went to see one! She gave me great tips for exercises as well as measured me for a compression sleeve, which I wear whenever I fly anywhere or do yardwork.

The breast swelling is normal too. My left one is slightly larger than the right one but it's so subtle that it hasn't affected my bra size.


Stage III, Unknown Primary; 1 positive node in left axilla

I had 28 lymph nodes removed from my right armpit August 2010 and I still get pains there.  Sometimes sharp ones.  But mostly it is still numb.  Not sure I will ever have true feeling there or not. Hope your mom starts feeling better with time.

Don't sweat the small stuff. There are bigger fish to fry!

Something else came to mind today and this is someting you might want to ask your surgeon. Sometimes they use tiny titanium surgical clips on blood vessels and lymph vessels to close them off and then leave them in. In addition to controlling blood and fluids, they can also serve as markers for future scans of the area. These clips can sometimes cause inflammation and discomfort. You may want to check with your surgeon to see if this is what can be causing your mom's discomfort.


Stage III, Unknown Primary; 1 positive node in left axilla

get your doctor to order a  visit to a lymphodema specialist...and an occupational therapist...they take out more than lymph nodes and oftern there is muscle and nerve damage...


don't back up, don't back down