Original Article

Frequency of Early-Stage Lymphedema and Risk Factors in Postoperative Patients with Breast Cancer


  • Aykut Soyder
  • Engin Taştaban
  • Serdar Özbaş
  • Şükrü Boylu
  • Hedef Özgün

Received Date: 09.12.2013 Accepted Date: 27.01.2014 Eur J Breast Health 2014;10(2):92-97


Lymphedema is a chronic major complication that is seen frequently post-operatively and has negative effects on quality of life. In our study, determining the early-stage postoperative lymphedema frequency and specifying the risk factors in its development has been aimed.

Materials and Methods:

One hundred one cases that were operated on for breast cancer were evaluated regarding the 12-month control of their clinical specifications, histopathological specifications, and specifications related with the surgical intervention retrospectively. The data related to the parameters envisioned as risk factors were evaluated.


Lymphedema development was found in 7 (6.9%) out of 101 cases constituting the study group. No significant difference (p>0.05) in terms of lymphedema development was determined among age, body mass index (BMI), chemotherapy (CT), postoperative seroma or infection, mastectomy with the dominant arm, and breast-conserving surgery (BCS), which were evaluated as risk factors. There was a significance (p<0.05) between the other risk factors, which were axillary dissection (AD), number of positive lymph nodes (LN), radiotherapy (RT), the tumor size (T), and lymphedema existence. In every case in which lymphedema was determined, it was seen that there was axillary LN involvement and 15≤LN were ablated in the dissection (p<0.05).


It is seen that AD, RT applied to the breast cancer patients, and T are important risk factors in early-stage lymphedema development. No early-stage lymphedema development was determined in any of the patients to whom sentinel lymph node dissection (SLND) was applied.

Keywords: Lymphedema, breast cancer, risk factors, incidence