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Sentinel Lymph Node Biopsy and Axillary Dissection: Added Morbidity of the Arm, Shoulder and Chest Wall After Mastectomy and Reconstruction

Sclafani, Lisa M. MD; Baron, Roberta H. RN, MSN, AOCN

doi: 10.1097/PPO.0b013e31817fbe5e
Special Issue on Reconstruction and Rehabilitation After Surgery for Breast Cancer: Original Article

Axillary lymph node surgery is essential for the treatment of breast cancer but can produce both short-term and long-term morbidities, including lymphedema, shoulder restriction, numbness, weakness, and pain syndromes which impact on the quality of life of the estimated 2 million breast cancer survivors living in the United States today. They occur with both sentinel node biopsy and axillary dissection, though less frequently with the former. The incidence and etiology of these complications are investigated as are the risk factors, and methods of prevention and treatment. Recommendations for avoiding these morbidities for postoperative rehabilitation are discussed.

From the Department of Surgery, Breast Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University Medical College, New York.

Reprint requests: Lisa M. Sclafani, MD, Department of Surgery, Breast Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Cornell University Medical College, 1275 York Avenue, New York 10065. E-mail: sclafanl@mskcc.org.

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.