Hi There
Has anyone had any symptoms of ‘cording’ or axillary web syndrome post op? I had some lymph glands removed in aug and then started in Oct with pain in my ribs and a strange cat-gut like string under the skin going down my abdomen. On talking with a physio friend she diagnosed it as being axillary web syndome which is where lymph vessels wither away once and get tethered once they have been cut from the gland they drain into and suggested stretching it. Has anyone any tips of things that they had tried and does it eventually just go? Cheers Jo

Hi Jo W

Breast Cancer Care has a factsheet which contains lots of useful hints and exercises for cording, here is the link, it can be either read or ordered through the website. I do hope it helps with your cording problems.*/changeTemplate/PublicationDisplay/publicationId/101/

Kind regards



I had cording down my arm about 6 weeks after the opp. My BCN refered me to phiso who gave me exersies to do. Suggest you speak to your BCN and push for a phiso appointment. Meanwhile try and strech it as much as you can. Although I am not sure how you can stretch the abdo.

Hi Jo,

I had cording from my armpit to my wrist on my affected arm and across my chest. (Your cat gut description is perfect.) Physio sorted it out after a few intense sessions and much exercising. The exercises were quite painful initially so at the Physio’s suggestion I got stronger painkillers from my GP. You will probably need to do the stretching exercises for some time to prevent recurrence.

Jan xx

Hi Jo, I had 3 nodes removed and had cording above the scar in my armpit - this felt like a stretched elastic band. I did no specific physio other than the ordinary exercises they gave and it just disappeared after a couple of months. A few weeks later round nodules appeared in the underside of my arm above my armpit - the surgeon said this was also cording and it has also gone away on its own.

However, the most bizarre was pain all down the side of my chest and abdomen, almost from the bottom of the scar to my waist - it felt like someone had kicked me in the ribs and was very odd. I could also feel the tight band. the nurse said to just leave it alone and it just disapppeared along with all the rest after a couple of months.

I hope this puts your mind at rest - hopefully yours will just fade on its own like mine did. Best advice - not to prod it too much or worry too much!

good luck



I would like to share my own experience regarding stubborn cording. It’s been nearly one year after my MX and reconstruction,everything healed very well and fast, like a text book. However the cording on my armpit is a bit problematic. It was very tight, itchy, uncomfortable, I had difficulty to stretch my arm fully, despite the stretching exercises, massaging it, etc, etc. What put it right was only one injection of steroid on the armpit scar. When my consultant saw it, she called it an angry scar, she offerred me the jab. After a few weeks, the scar tissue softened so much and I regain my movement completely.

Thanks to everyone for their kind advise and experiences. i saw a physio a few days who showed me stretches and did some ‘myofacial release techniques’ and also showed my husband how to do them. it has helped a lot already and i do some daily stretches and ‘rubs’ to alleviate the problem. Good luck to you all in the seemingly never ending array of niggling minor ailments that accompany breast cancer and its treatment. Cheers Jo

Can I ask if anyone has had cording without actually being able to feel a cord? I have tightness in my arm from edge of armpit to my elbow and it’s tender to touch. They thought I may have a blood clot but an ultrasound didn’t show anything. This has happened very suddenly 5 months post op (had all lymph nodes removed).
Elinda x