After My Mastectomy Last Year Under My Armpit Is Still Swollen. Is This Normal?

Question

Asked by Denise

After My Mastectomy Last Year Under My Armpit Is Still Swollen. Is This Normal?

I had a mastectomy in April of 2007 with immediate reconstructive surgery. I had my implant put in October of 2008. My left side under my armpit, where your bra would be is still swollen as if I have water in there. Will this ever go away?

Answer

Hi Denise,

This sounds like lymphedema to me. There is so little info available about lymphedema and most of it has to do with arm lymphedema. Mine has always been truncal - in my chest, back and exactly where you describe.

This is the best article on the subject that I have been able to find:

http://www.lymphnotes.com/article.php/id/149/

Exercise, lymphatic massage and watching diet can all help. I know that many women swear by water aerobics. I find yoga helps.

Do ask your doctor about lymphedema (if the swelling doesn't go away soon) but don't be too put off if they don't have any advice for you. And if you want me to point me in the direction of other resources, please contact me. I would be happy to do so.

Take good care,

Laurie