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Breast Cancer

Blood pressure and mastectomy

10/29/2009

Question:

Why is it not recommended to have blood pressure taken on the arm where the mastectomy is?

Answer:

One of the complications of mastectomy, especially if lymph nodes under the are are also removed, is called lymphedema.  Lymphedema is a swelling of the arm related to collection of lymph fluid.  There are many triggers for increased lymph production, and trauma to the arm (which can be caused by a blood pressure cuff) is one of them.  Avoiding these triggers can decrease the likelihood of the development of lymphedema.

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Response by:

Doreen M Agnese, MD Doreen M Agnese, MD
Clinical Associate Professor of Surgery
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University