Swollen lymph nodes before op

This might seem like a really silly question but I am going to ask anyway. I am due to have my op on Tuesday, WLE and SLNB, but I am still very bruised outside and inside my boob after having 2 biopsies. I have been told that if the surgeon feels that the lymph nodes are affected (evidently they feel a bit grainy if the cancer has spread) he will perform an axillary clearance whilst I am under the GA rather than me coming back for another operation. I have been told that this is most unlikely but I am worried that my nodes might be more swollen anyway due to all the bruising that is still evident and he might mistake this for cancerous cells. I know it is just my mind working overtime and the surgeon will have years of experience (well I hope so). I am also having the wire inserted before my op and worried they won’t be able to do it because of the bruising.
Hugs to all x


A lot of us find that after biopsies our nodes get a bit swollen, so your surgeon will be used to this.

What sort of testing are you having during your op? Some hospitals do a thing called OSNA (you’re allowed to google that one!) which means they take the sentinel node(s) and test them while you’re still out, and decide on the basis of the tests whether to go further on clearance - they don’t just do it on how they look by eye. That might be a question you could ask your BCN, as she will know what the procedure is in your hospital.

And again, before I go, repeat again: THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A SILLY QUESTION.

I had a WLE and SNB last April.
My surgeon explained to me that the order in which he would operate. First he would do the SNB biopsy. The SN would be sent to pathologist for analysis. While waiting for the results from the pathologist he would do the WLE. By the time he has finished the WLE, the pathologist should have notified the theatre whether or not any of the SN removed and sent to him had cancer cells in them. If the report said they were clear that would be the end of it. If the report came back positive, he would do a clearance.
I imagine this is exactly what will happen to you when you in theatre, if you are having an operative sentinal node biopsy.
I don’t think you need to worry that he will do an unnecessary lymph node clearance. The whole point of doing the SNB is to avoid that.
Good luck on Tues.
Edit: Extensive bruising after biopsy is not uncommon. My breast looked like it had been run over.

Thank you ladies, isn’t it funny what you think about at 2 o’clock in the morning when you can’t sleep.

I am not sure whether they test the node whilst I am under GA, I just was made aware when signing the consent form for the op that this could happen. They have to point everything out that might happen, even the possibility of an allergic reaction to the dye. I suppose I will know when I wake up. According to the ultrasound it didn’t look as though it had spread but I know that isn’t a guarantee.


Good girl, sunshine! ;-D

hello sunshine… what a lovely name by the way … i was in the same situatin as you last year… crappy time hun… the waiting and the worrying, i suffer from nut allergy, and im allergic to erythromycin antibiotic, i was also told that there could be complications from the dye… well i was fine … i think the doctors have to tell you the worst possible things that can happen… i did have blue wee and blue tears for a cupple of days after tho … i felt quite proud when everyone wanted to see the contents of the loo b4 i flushed … my own little supply of blue loo … but that soon cleared up… before surgery i was injected with a radioactive soultion, that stung a bit but nothing 2 bad… this radioactive stuff travels to your lymph glands under your arm making them glow you will probably have an xray to check its working … when you are injected with the blue dye…( whilst your asleep)…the dye is attracted to the radioactive stuff…the first gland i think is the sentinal node… this is dyed blue, it is then easy for your surgeon to find it … my surgeon took out all the blue ones… the sentinal node and 3 others…they were sent to hystology for testing, and the results took about a week all were clear… no cancer …and fingers crossed yours will be the same … the operation was ok… i was just as scared as you are, i was back home at 7pm the same night … sore for a bit afterwards but not agony… hope this helps… chin up sunshine… love the name xxx angie

there seems to be two ways to do this and it depends on what facilities your hospital has.

A sential node is a tiny little node which is the first place that a cancer would get to after your lump. If that node is not affected than the know you other major nodes will be clear and they will not take any of them out.

some hospitals can test the node whilst you are still being operated on and the surgeon can decide whilst you are on the table wether to take more nodes or not. Some hospitals sew you up again and then wait for the results. If necessary they then go back in to take more out.

I had mine tested on the table. Even though one of my big nodes was swollen on the scan the sentaial node was clear and that meant the cancer had not spread throught the lymphs.

Your nodes are doing their job if they swell when there is something a bit odd going on with your breast. So i would not worry that yours are. I looked like I had been run over by a bus after my biopsies.

Of course you are worried and thinking about every single thing that can possibly go wrong, its only natural.

Good luck on tuesday, I bet you will have more questions between now and then, and I bet your breast nurse will not be there on monday to talk to.

Hello Sunshine
How are you doing? We are almost in the same timeframe so I hope your results from SLN were good.
I had WLE and SLN on 31st Aug, but won’t know about the state of the nodes until I go for my post op appt tomorrow.
Can’t wait to get the SLN dressing off as water has been seeping in and it is very itchy…hmmm! Other than that everything has been quite good apart from the super sensitive (and not in a good way lol!) nipples.

My prob at the minute is I feel guilty about not being at work. Signed off for 6 weeks and I keep on thinking surely I could manage some aspects of the job.

Surgeon and GP are adamant that it is the stress and workload as much as the physical work which would be a lot to cope with but it is so tricky isn’t it?

Anyway good luck with everything. Don’t know what I’d do without my daily dose here!

Cherryorchard: I could have peed myself laughing! Boob looking like it had been ran over. I had a well perforated boob after my biopsy and this time it was vivid purple collar bone to beneath. A very apt description!
My post surgery bruising has been fairly neat and more of the ‘yellow’ colouration.

take care all.

Hi Crabbbit,

Doing ok to be honest. Had dressing off this morning (what a relief) not allowed a shower until tomorrow, can’t wait. Fed up with sitting in a bath with a few inches of water. I haven’t really got any pain just a little bit sore where the nodes were removed but I think it might be because I have been overdoing it. Looking after grandchildren!!! Get my results next tuesday (13th) so just starting to get slightly anxious about that. You will get your results before me, let me know how it goes. Fingers crossed. Will look out for your post.

Hello Sunshine, Goodness we have to get good at waiting don’t we?
Well done you for managing the grandchildren too. I feel very lucky. At the minute I’m keeping my 4 year old’s routine as ‘normal’ as I can so he is at the childminder Mon-Thu. I hope you are getting the time to rest up a little.How old are your grandchildren?

I will post later to let you know how it goes.

Take care, xx