Boughey et al reported risk factors breast lymphedema following breast surgery. The authors are from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Patient selection: woman status post breast surgery


Breast lymphedema shows diffuse skin edema and erythema associated with a sense of swelling and heaviness.


Risk factors for breast lymphedema from multivariate analysis:

(1) increased body mass index (BMI; OR 1.8 for each 5 unit increase)

(2) incision location (lower inner quadrant OR 11.5; central OR 9.4; upper outer quadrant OR 4.7)

(3) history of prior breast surgical excision (OR 17.7)

(4) performance of any axillary surgery (OR 134)


Upper inner and lower outer quadrants were associated with the least risk.


Factors not predictive were the extent of the axillary surgery or the number of lymph nodes removed.


Differential diagnosis: inflammatory breast cancer

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