Gallagher, Philip G.; Algird, John R.
June 1966
Angiology;Jun1966, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p377
Academic Journal
Post radical mastectomy edema of the arm is a serious surgical complication. One of the major causes of edema is thrombophlebitis of the venous drainage system of the arm with secondary perivascular lymphatic occlusion. The incidence of edema should be decreased by meticulous dissection, expeditiously carried out without prolonged exposures of the axillary vein. The incision should not cross the axilla or extend to the arm. Early ambulation and elastic sleeve compression is important to maintain venous flow. Infection should be prevented by proper wound care, drainage, and antibiotics. It is felt that if these precautions are carried out, the incidence of postoperative edema will be lessened. An astute awareness and early treatment of basilic and axillary thrombophlebitis are essential. Direct surgical attack is indicated whore thrombosis or perivascular obstruction is noted. Long standing cases of edema should be investigated using venography as a guide. In most late cases elevation, compression, and diuretics along with proper hygiene to prevent recurrent infections will yield satisfactory results.


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