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Oedema of the arm may complicate any surgery or radiotherapy that disturbs the axillary lymph nodes.
The time course of the oedema is predictive of the cause:
- within 1-2 weeks - axillary vein thrombosis
- within 1-2 months and progressing rapidly - constriction of the axillary vein by scar tissue or lymphatic obstruction
- months or years later - recurrent carcinoma in the lymph nodes
Last reviewed 01/2018