Axillary lymph node clearance side effects


I had a axillary lymph node clearance last week and I am experiencing the feeling of a tight band around my upper arm, nothing to see, I also have a numb inner and back of upper arm,  do you think these oddities will disappear in time ?  am I likely to have other odd sensations?  

The hospital have not mentioned driving and I did not think to ask, roughly how long should I not drive for?

Thank you for having a dedicated breast ask the expert

  • Hi one boob,

    Thanks for getting back in touch. Apart from these sensations in your arm, I hope you’re recovering well from your surgery.

    The feeling of a tight band around your upper arm and the numbness could be caused by damage to the nerves during your surgery. We’d recommend getting in touch with your consultant or breast care nurse to have this assessed. They’ll be able to guide you about the best way to cope with it.

    For some people nerve damage improves with time as the nerves slowly recover. Others will find these changes in sensation are permanent. Only time will tell how you individually heal.

    Tingling, numbness, stiffness, weakness and swelling (lymphoedema) are possible side effects after your surgery. If you notice any changes, let your team know.

    You can usually start to drive again once you feel able to use the gear lever and handbrake and provided you could do an emergency stop or move the steering wheel suddenly if necessary. Some ladies can drive within a few weeks of their surgery while others find it takes longer. Your hospital team can offer advice on when is safe for you to start driving. Insurance companies often have their own guidelines about when you can drive again after an operation, so you could check with your insurance company too.

    I hope this information helps. You know where we are if you need anything. Best wishes, Karla (Macmillan Cancer Information Nurse).