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Swelling from Sentinel Node removal
3 Posts

What was your experience re swelling from sentinel node removal at the time of surgery. My swelling is circular under armpit, front and back areas with considerable swelling up the front of my right chest area. Feels like a huge balloon when my arm is along side. I'm 2 weeks out of surgery. I'm doing exercises for arm movement and I have pretty good ROM. What I'm describing is likely very normal, however, can anyone comment on their experience from this type of swelling - and if, I can do anything to make better, and how long out does it take to subside? 🌈Thank you for your kind reply/s. A thought does anyone found good directions or a good youtube showing under armpit/chest lymph massage.

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263 Posts


good morning. congrats for getting thru the surgery…not sure what you thought, but that was actually the most stressful part of the process for me. as someone who has been pretty healthy, the ‘surgery’ thing was quite worrisome for me.

thank you for this post--great question re: sentinel node swelling!
my surgeries were last march/april 2020, and for sure I did experience swelling in the breast, (which honestly lasted at least a year!!!), and underarm from the sentinel node removal. it felt like my arm was stuck straight out from my body - ha ha ha. it wasn't that dramatic, but it felt like I had an extra boob under there!

I never did any sort of massage, and in doing a quick google search this morning, it seems that until things are completely healed up, it would not be recommended.
I still have some very mild numbness on the underside of my arm, and the swelling ‘sensation’ does come and go…..mostly go now, but that took a long time to settle out.
I like you, started exercise, a gentle yoga class, literally the next day, and I credit that 100% for my excellent ROM.

do you have a follow up appt soon? or do you have a nurse navigator you can contact.
reach out to your team and let them help you--that's what they are there for!

I am sure I and Dr Google have been NO HELP at all! it will be interesting to see what experiences others have had. :)

what are the next steps in your story? do you have further treatments?
let us know if you are comfortable, this community is always here.


#surgery #sentinelnodebiopsy #swellingaftersentinelbiopsy #drgoogle

119 Posts
Hi KauaiMouse
i had a sentinel node biopsy with my lumpectomy and definitely had swelling under the arm. It felt like there was a little egg in there and I remember it bothering me when I went for walks early on. It was about a month after my surgery before this went away, along with some cording that developed as well. The daily exercises from Canadian Cancer Society helped a lot. I also had little ice packs from my biopsies and I found it soothing to tuck one into my armpit as well as to elevate the arm on a pillow.
Best of luck with your healing!
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