Post-Mastectomy | Axillary Lymph Node Excision | Lymphoedema
Surgery to remove cancerous breast tissue, sometimes requires the removal of lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla), which are important to our lymphatic system. This can lead to swelling of the arms and hands and great pain.
Our lymphatic system moving waste / toxins from the peripheral areas of our body back to the thoracic duct in the chest for cleansing and resorption into our bloodstream.
Our lymphatic system has several important functions: it provides a protective immune response by cleansing the fluid it drains from the body (lymph) of debris, toxins and foreign particles; it returns this fluid after cleansing back into the bloodstream preventing fluid retention and swelling; it transports dietary lipids from the gastrointestinal tract to the bloodstream; and it collects lost blood plasma proteins back into the bloodstream.
Our body will continue to work tirelessly in the initial stages post-surgery to overcome the loss of these key lymph nodes, but eventually it tires (approximately 6-18 months post-operation) and women then suffer painful swelling (oedema) in the arm from the lymph which accumulates.
This condition can be prevented through lymphatic drainage in the early stages post-surgery to train the body to find alternate channels of drainage via the remaining lymphatic network before it becomes exhausted and oedema develops.
It is also important that you maintain a daily self-care lymphatic drainage routine, which we will show you, to assist your body in moving lymph from the affected side up into the chest.