How Many Years After Mastectomy Can The Arm Be Used For Iv Infusion. For Example Somebody Had Left Mastectomy, When Can The Left Arm Be Used For Iv Infusion And Blood Pressure Measurement?

Question

Asked by vsanluis

How Many Years After Mastectomy Can The Arm Be Used For Iv Infusion. For Example Somebody Had Left Mastectomy, When Can The Left Arm Be Used For Iv Infusion And Blood Pressure Measurement?

Answer

Because I developed lymphedema in my arm on my mastectomy side about a year after my mastectomy, I never let anyone take blood pressure or IV sticks on that side. As PJ says, there isn't consensus in the medical community on this issue, but lymphedema can develop many years after surgery, so why take the risk? If using just one arm is becoming problematic and you are trying to decide whether to use the arm on your affected side, you might want to assess your overall risk for lymphedema with an expert. Some risk factors include radiation on that side and the number of lymph nodes removed. The rule of thumb is the more nodes you had removed, the higher your risk factor, but my lymphedema therapist told me that they are seeing patients who had sentinel node biopsies--a procedure that was supposed to reduce lymphedema risk.

Answered by Phyllis Johnson