Comparison of upper extremity lymphedema after sentinel lymph node biopsy and axillary lymph node dissection: patient-reported outcomes in 3044 patients Journal Articles uri icon

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  • PURPOSE: A limited number of studies have examined the impact of type of axillary lymph node surgery on breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) from the patient's perspective. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) and axillary lymph node dissection (ALND) on the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in women diagnosed with BCRL using a condition specific patient-reported outcome measure (PROM), the LYMPH-Q upper extremity (UE) module. METHODS: Adult women diagnosed with BCRL were identified from the Danish National Health Data Authority database for the period 2008 to 2020 and were sent an online REDCap survey with the LYMPH-Q UE module. Information pertaining to axillary surgery was obtained from an online pathology repository. Multivariable linear regression was used to examine differences in the SLND and ALND groups on the LYMPH-Q UE scale scores. RESULTS: Three thousand and fourty four women with BCRL were included in the analysis. The mean follow-up duration was 8.6 ± 5.15 years (range, 0-36 years). The majority of participants underwent ALND (n = 2805, 92.1%) and only 7.9% (n = 239) received SLND. The mean number of lymph nodes removed in the SLND group was 2.2 ± 1.4. No statistically significant difference was found in the two groups on the LYMPH-Q UE scale scores. CONCLUSION: There is no difference in women with upper extremity lymphedema after SLND or ALND on the LYMPH-Q UE module scales measuring arm symptoms, function, distress, and appearance.


  • Poulsen, Lotte
  • Kaur, Manraj
  • Jacobsen, Amalie L
  • Bjarnesen, Mie P
  • Bjarnesen, Anna P
  • Klassen, Anne
  • Pusic, Andrea L
  • de Vries, Claire EE
  • Sørensen, Jens A

publication date

  • January 2022