2nd sentintel node biopsy & lymphedema

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2nd sentintel node biopsy & lymphedema

Postby DancerDonna » Fri Jul 30, 2010 5:12 pm

I had breast cancer five years ago, had a lumpectomy with sentinel node biopsy, chemo, radiation, and one year of herceptin. I have a new tumor, which is again HER2 + and will have a mastectomy and reconstruction. I already have lymphedema.

Although only three lymph nodes were removed five years ago, with two positive, my nipple started leaking seroma ten months after the lumpectomy. It leaked for five months. One month after the leaking started, a breast infection began. The infection was very severe and lasted three months. One month after the infection started, I got lymphedema in both my arm and hand.

I am very concerned about the lymphedema getting worse with having more lymph nodes removed. From biopsy and breast MRI, it is thought that the new tumor is only 1 mm. It is surrounded by some DCIS. I have shopped around for plastic surgeons because I plan to have the DIEP procedure for reconstruction. I live in Nashville, but plan to go to Memphis for surgery.

Three breast surgeons I have interviewed would try sentinel node biopsy and if that failed, remove two more lymph nodes. The breast surgeon I saw on Tuesday, who usually works with the Memphis plastic surgeon who specializes in DIEP, said that if sentinel node biopsy failed, she would want to take the entire first level of lymph nodes.

I just saw my Nashville breast surgeon again today, who agrees with me that that is much more likely to cause my lymphedema to get worse than removing two or three. She is sending a letter this afternoon to both the Memphis breast surgeon and plastic surgeon. She will also recommend freezing two lymph nodes and having the lab check them while she is completing the mastectomy. We talked of me seeing another Memphis breast surgeon if the one I've seen is inflexible about the lymph node removal.

Has anyone out there had a second sentinel node biopsy after you already had lymphedema? If so, what were the effects?

Has anyone had more lymph nodes removed after you already had lymphedema? What were the results?

If any doctors participate in this forum, have you performed a second sentinel node biopsy or removed more nodes from a patient who already had lymphedema? What were the results?
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