Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling that can develop in the arm, hand, breast, or torso on the side where your lymph nodes were removed. This is called the affected side. Lymphedema develops when the lymph vessels in an area are no longer able to carry all the fluid away from the area. If this happens, the fluid can build up and cause swelling. Studies show that the risk of developing lymphedema is different based on how the lymph nodes were removed. There are 2 types of surgeries used to remove lymph nodes.
A Prospective Study of Breast lymphedema-Frequency, Symptoms, and Quality of Life
Lymph is a milky fluid that contains white blood cells. White blood cells help fight infections. Lymph vessels, like blood vessels, run all through the body. They carry lymph, cells and other material. Lymph nodes are found throughout the body.
Find out about lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment, including how you can lower your risk of getting it and how to manage it. The lymphatic system carries clear watery fluid called lymph, which drains out from the small blood vessels capillaries into the body tissues. Cancer or cancer treatment can affect the fluid drainage channels of the lymphatic system. Fluid then doesn't drain in the normal way, so the area swells.