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Topic: Rotator cuff surgery and lymphedema risk

Forum: Lymphedema — Risks, tips for prevention, and info about products that can address the symptoms of lymphedema.

Posted on: Jan 1, 2019 09:11AM

Mynewlife1 wrote:

Hi - I have had ongoing issues with arm pain since completion of my breast cancer treatment last year. What began as constant burning progressed into limited range of motion and shoulder/upper arm pain. When the pain first began I was evaluated by a lymphedema therapist and was told I did not have lymphedema. I have continued to be very aware of the risk though. At my insistence, I was able to finally have an MRI in September and was diagnosed with a near complete rotator cuff tear. I have been going to physical therapy twice a week and was hoping to be able to treat this with PT alone since the risk of lymphedema with surgery on that arm scares me. But, it has been several months and I am still in a great deal of pain. It has greatly affected my quality of life. I feeI I have no choice but to have surgery so that I can start to move forward. My question is, what precautions can I take to help decrease the risk of lymphedema with rotator cuff surgery on my at risk arm? I have searched the Internet but have found little specific information for this situation. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Dx 10/31/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 11/21/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Jan 1, 2019 01:12PM Binney4 wrote:

Hi, Mynewlife, and welcome,

You're smart to be researching this question, and it's good that you already have contact with a lymphedema therapist. I'm assuming s/he took arm measurements as part of her/his evaluation, and those will be good to have for future reference as well. Scroll down to the last section on this page (Guidelines for Surgery on an Arm, Shoulder, Hand or Breast with Lymphedema) for some suggestions for surgery on an at-risk arm:

http://www.stepup-speakout.org/Emergencies_and_Med...

Note that point #7 applies only to those who already have lymphedema present. The rest of the points, though, apply to at-risk arms as well.

Throughout your recovery period and PT, do consult with your lymphedema therapist for any issues that you notice. Prompt lymphedema care can make a big difference to managing and controlling it going forward.

I'll be looking forward with you to smooth sailing through your surgery and recovery, and I'm hoping you'll never have to join our "swell" sisterhood! Do keep us posted, please, and let us know how you're doing.

Gentle hugs,
Binney



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Jan 1, 2019 04:11PM Mynewlife1 wrote:

Binney -

Thank you so much for the link to the excellent information. It helps me feel more confident about making the difficult decision to have surgery. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again for your help and kind wishes

Dx 10/31/2017, IDC, Right, 1cm, Stage IA, Grade 3, 0/3 nodes, ER+/PR+ Surgery 11/21/2017 Lumpectomy: Right; Lymph node removal: Right, Sentinel Hormonal Therapy 1/1/2018 Tamoxifen pills (Nolvadex, Apo-Tamox, Tamofen, Tamone) Radiation Therapy Whole-breast: Breast
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Jan 8, 2019 09:36PM macb04 wrote:

Hey, just thought I would mention that I had rotator cuff tear, and got good improvement through the use of Low Level Laser Therapy, also known as Cold Laser Therapy. It is used by all the big sports teams. I live in Seattle, and got the Laser Therapy at Bastyr University's Natural Medicine Clinic in Wallingford. Took an evaluation and then 15 minutes give or take of Laser Therapy Treatment. I got months of relief, so when it started to bother me again I did another treatment. It worked just as well the second time. My other arm is starting to bother me, somewhat Rotator Cuff tear symptoms when I raise my arm, and I am thinking to go for Low Level Laser Therapy for my R arm . Costs about 100. These problems started after taking Cipro

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