From Stephanie A. Romig, MS, OTR CLT-LANA, sent 12/04:
"l am a certified lymphedema therapist and can tell you first, that your site is of tremenous help to many of my patients.
In response to the inquiry regarding lymphedema and sentinal node biopsy... The occurence is much smaller, but still there because there is the disruption of the tissue and can also be compounded by radiation therapy.
The sole cause is unknown, but all we know is that our patients are predisposed for lymphedema after any type of axillary dissection or radiation treatment, unless of couse the patient has primary lymphedema in which she or he is born with it. I hope this helps".
Stephanie A. Romig MS, OTR CLT-LANA
Today, a level I-II axillary dissection is generally routine and in rare cases, if the lymph nodes are found to be positive, the dissection is extended to include level III. Attempts are now made to modify the scope of the operation to fit the extent of the disease being treated. Aware of the risks of lymphedema, surgeons often carefully attempt to preserve fatty axillary tissue medial, lateral, and superior to the axillary vein, because this tissue may contain important lymphatic trunks, preferring to dissect the tissue below the vein.
J Am College of Surgeons
Am Soc Breast Disease, 4/04
Ann Surg, 3/06
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