Surgery drains affect lymphedema risk?

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Question from Mimi: Do the drains used in surgery affect whether or not you may get lymphedema in your arm?
Answers - Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. No. Some mild swelling in the arm after breast and axillary surgery is normal and not considered lymphedema. The drains placed in the axilla after surgery are meant to collect the fluid that can accumulate and generally only remain in place for 1 to 2 weeks. This does not impact the risk of long-term lymphedema.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called After Surgery: Short-Term and Long-Term Effects featured Kristin Brill, M.D., F.A.C.S. and Linda Miller, P.T. answering your questions about short-term and long-term side effects of breast surgery, and what you can do about them.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in May 2008.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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