Extent of sentinel lymph node biopsy influences lymphedema risk

Patients who had more than five lymph nodes dissected appeared more than twice as likely to develop lymphedema as those who had five or fewer nodes dissected (3.7% vs. 1.4%; P = .006).

Results also showed patients who had more than three lymph nodes dissected, as well as those whose nodes were positive, had elevated lymphedema risk. However, those differences did not reach statistical significance.

Researchers observed no significant differences in lymphedema incidence based on BMI, radiation therapy receipt, mastectomy receipt or age at diagnosis.

Soran and colleagues acknowledged a lack of infection information as a limitation of their study, and they noted longer follow-up is necessary. – by Mark Leiser

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