Radiotherapy to reconstruction-risk of lymphoedema


just looking for experiences please. I’m expecting to have 6 weeks of radiotherapy (5 weeks to the whole breast and a week to the specific site) and am worried about developing lymphoedema - not only have I got an implant but I’ve also had full axillary node clearance.

Anyone had a similar experience and, if so, what advice would you give?

Many thanks


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Hi Naomifel

I am posting a link to the BCC publication ‘Reducing the risk of lymphoedema’ which you may find helpful:

Best wishes

Hi Naz

I’ve got an LD flap + implant recon (done at same time as mx) and I had a partial clearance (15 nodes) and I’ve recently finished 5 weeks of rads.

First of all the node clearance and rads: Are they zapping your node area? Mine were clear and so they didn’t target them. My onc said it’s only if they do zap the node area that the risk of lymphodema increases.

As far as I’m aware, zapping the breast area - even if you’ve got an implant - doesn’t increase the risk of you developing lymphodema. As I’m sure you are aware, the main risk is of capsular contraction. This is lessened if the implant is protected by other tissue (like the muscle from the LD flap). My rads would normally have been done over 3 weeks - I had the same total dose over a longer time because it may help protect the recon. (no real proof of that either way, but it doesn’t do any harm)

I’ve just finished 5 weeks of rads on my chest area and under my arm where i had a total lymph node removal and I have very bad burns and blisters in my armpit. My chest area is burnt and roaring red but not blistering.
I have to go daily now to the treatment room in my own gps surgery to have it dressed.
I too am afraid of lymphoedema if this becomes infected. I will keep you posted on this.