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A Journal on Surgery

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Chirurgia 1999 August;12(4):283-6

language: Italian

Axillary lymphnode dissection. Morbidity and role in the treatment of breast cancer

Vassia S., Mainente M., De Luca T., Raineri F., Facci E., Acerbi A., Montresor E., Modena S.


Background. Axillary dissection is an important staging procedure in breast cancer and could be useful in the local control of the disease. Early diagnosis increases the number of dissections in which nodal metastases are not found. The aim of this study is to evaluate retrospectivey axillary dissection morbidity in the light of the new trends in lymphadenectomy.
Methods. One hundred patients with breast cancer submitted to surgical treatment, follow-up 3.5 years, were examined to evaluate the axillary dissection complications. The superior arm circumference over and above the lateral epicondyle, the reduction of the arm strength, paresthesia of the homolateral arm and an alteration of the scapula position have been evaluated.
Results. Eight patients had an effective increase of the superior arm circumference, in 49 cases reduction of arm strength, in 61 patients paresthesia of the omolateral arm and in 18 cases alteration of the scapula position.
Conclusions. The survival of patients affected buy breast cancer is related to the number or nodal metastases and metastatic axillary nodes are correlated to the size of the primary mammary lesion. Axillary dissection can produce immediate complications such as seromas and late complications such as lymphedema of the superior arm. Sentinel node biopsy and axillary dissection if frozen section is positive for neoplastic invasion has a good predictive value. Axillary dissection is actually a debated question and long term results are necessary to give future indications.

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