Lymph node removal advice


I had a radical keyhole hysterectomy six weeks ago following removal of a grade 3 uterine polyp.

The op took longer than expected due to stage 4 endometriosis so lymph nodes were not removed as planned.

I expect to have a separate op to remove lymph nodes on 10 Feb.

How long is the recovery likely to be and is it likely I will be up and about 2 weeks later? I have to make decisions around events I am expected to attend.

Also is there a risk of Lymphoedema and if so what can I do to minimise them?

thank you


  • Hello Christmas 2019,

    Thank you for contacting Macmillan Cancer Support, and welcome to our online community.

    Recovery from surgery is a very individual process. This will also depend on the type of surgery you have. Generally, after minor laparoscopic procedures the recovery time can be as little as 3 weeks. This can be considerably longer if the surgery is to treat cancer.

    You already had extensive surgery, your recovery from this might give you some idea how you will recovery from further surgery. This is not to say that you might not be able to be up and about to meet people or attend events.

    Removing Lymphnodes always carries a risk of Lymphoedema. This is not dependant on how many Lymphnodes are being removed, however it is higher if you also need radiotherapy treatment to the area. Here you can find information on ways of reducing your risk of Lymphoedema. Our Lymphoedema specialist and physiotherapist on the online community might be able to give you further information and advise.

    You should also have the opportunity to discuss your concerns with your surgical team before your operation. They will be able to give you advise on risks involved, recovery time.

    I hope this is helpful.

  • Hi Annetose

    thank you for such a quick reply. The advice on Lymphoedema is very useful.

    I am a bit worried that 2 months will have gone by  between my hysterectomy and the lymph nodes removal allowing time for the cancer to spread. My CNS says they would be very surprised if there was any spread to lymph nodes as histology shows stage 1. However the cancer found in my uterus was grade 3 and aggressive.

    what is your experience of other patients in this situation?

    thank you


  • Hi Debbie,

    I’m glad you found my colleague Annerose ‘s reply helpful.

    Waiting on further surgery can be a worrying time and it’s only natural to question if the cancer can grow in that space of time

    It would be rare for a stage 1 womb cancer to spread to lymph nodes, as a stage 1 would mean the cancer cells are either in the womb lining or the muscle wall.

    The only way to confirm if there’s lymph node spread is to remove the lymph nodes and for a pathologist to examine the cells under a microscope.

    Please get back in touch if you have further questions. If it helps to chat, you could give us a call on the helpline.


    Best wishes,

    Mandy (Cancer Information Nurse Specialist).